Welcome to Save Kilvey Hill

A website for the protection of Kilvey Hill.

Write or Email Your MP

See below for a template letter that you can send to your local MP as an email or as a letter, or click here for a Word version.

  • Write to your MP: It’s better to write to your MP than to email as it carries more import, and a handwritten letter is best. The address of all MP’s is: House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA. All you need to add is your MP’s name. To find out the name of your MP click on this link. Then type in your postcode. Scroll down to find the name of your MP.
  • Email Your MP: You can email your MP by clicking on this link. Then type in your postcode. Scroll down to find your MP and click on his name. Then, copy and paste the suggested text below into the online form and click ‘Preview and Send’.

An example letter you can send to your local MP:

[INSERT YOUR ADDRESS]

[INSERT THE DATE]

Dear [INSERT NAME OF MP] 

Proposed Skyline Development on Kilvey Hill

I am writing to you with regard to the proposed Skyline Development of Kilvey Hill.  

This development aims to turn Kilvey Hill into a visitor centre, restaurant complex, gondola rides and extensive luge tracks, with music, bright lights, and all manner of other theatrics night and day.  

As my local MP I would like to invite you to block this proposed development for the reasons given below:

  • This is a significant development on a hill whose scenic value is enjoyed by people all over the city and which is also enjoyed by thousands of existing residents as a place to connect with nature, enjoy the peace and quiet, and take in the amazing views.  Yet despite the many years the council have been in discussion about this development, and the £12 million of public and government money the council have earmarked for it (with no guarantee of getting any of it back), many, if not most people in Swansea do not even know it is happening.  The first they will know of it is when the bulldozers come in and start tearing down the trees and pouring concrete.  Any development of this hill needs to take into consideration a much wider range of views than has currently taken place.  The consultations that have taken place up to the time of the pre-planning phase (17th May 2023) were little more than a small-scale promotional exercise for Skyline and not a genuine democratic attempt to get wider participation in the future of Kilvey Hill.  
  • Kilvey Hill community woodland is the largest urban woodland in South Wales.  According to Skyline, 30% of the woodland cover within the planning boundaries of the development (nearly 80,000 square metres of woodland, or 11 football fields) will be completely clear cut.  It is not possible to take the council seriously on biodiversity or on climate change when they are continuing to destroy the natural heritage of Swansea.  All environmental organisations are in agreement that the most effective way to improve biodiversity and to fight climate change, is to protect our existing woodlands. That is the number one priority, and this alone is enough of a reason to make sure this development does not go ahead.
  • This development, in clear cutting 11 football fields worth of the woodland on Kilvey Hill, goes directly against Future Wales Policy 14, which emphasises the importance of retaining and enhancing woodland cover to build resilience of ecosystems and achieve WG targets of increasing woodland cover by at least 2,000 ha per annum from 2020. The policy also recognises the wide range of benefits for society provided by trees and woodland, and that they are therefore an essential part of the Green Infrastructure Network and delivering placemaking objectives.  
  • This development goes directly against Planning Policy Wales (PW), specifically: 1) PW 6.4.24: “Trees, woodlands, copses and hedgerows are of great importance for biodiversity…They also play a vital role in tackling climate change by locking up carbon, and can provide shade and shelter, a sustainable energy source and building materials. The particular role, siting and design requirements of urban trees in providing health and well-being benefits to communities, now and in the future should be promoted as part of plan making and decision taking.” 2) PW 6.4.25: Planning authorities should protect trees, hedgerows or groups of trees or areas of woodland where they have ecological value, contribute to the character or amenity of a particular locality, or perform a beneficial and identified green infrastructure function.” 3) PW 6.4.27: The protection and planting of trees and hedgerows should be delivered, where appropriate, through locally specific strategies and policies, through imposing conditions when granting planning permission, and/or by making Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs). They should also be incorporated into Green Infrastructure Assessments and plans. 
  • By clear cutting a woodland the size of 11 football fields on Kilvey Hill, this development contravenes the Environment (Wales) Act 2016, which places a duty on local authorities to ‘seek to maintain and enhance biodiversity in the proper exercise of their functions‘ and to  ‘promote the resilience of ecosystems‘.  
  • This development goes against the Swansea Local Development Plan, specifically: 1) Policy ER 11 states: Development that would adversely affect trees, woodlands and hedgerows of public amenity or natural/cultural heritage value, or that provide important ecosystem services, will not normally be permitted. Policy ER 11 is also clear that the principle of avoidance of development which affects trees should be applied in the first instance.  2) Policy ER1: Climate Change – Recognises the crucial role that trees and soils play in mitigating the effects of climate change at the local level and promotes that, “as far as practicable, trees should be retained and protected, with new trees and shrubs provided by developers wherever possible.” 
  • The woodland to be clear cut on Kilvey Hill is, according to the ecological survey carried out by Skyline, mostly of Category B.  Yet the Swansea Local Development Plan Special Supplementary Guides specifically requires that “the design and layout of the site will be expected to respond to the information contained in the BS5837:2012 tree survey as follows: Retention of Category A and B Trees: Where a (BS5837:2012) tree survey identifies Category A (high quality) and Category B (moderate quality) trees, the Council will expect them to be retained and incorporated into a layout wherever possible. 
  • It is unclear whether any account has been given to the Veteran trees on Kilvey Hill in the Skyline proposals.  Although it is not an old woodland, many of the trees on Kilvey Hill have the characteristics of Veteran trees.  These are trees that may not be old, but which because of their environment or life experiences, have developed the valuable features of an ancient tree. The importance of Ancient and Veteran trees is emphasized in national planning policy and guidance and reflected in the detailed criteria of LDP Policy ER11. The Policy provides specific protection to Ancient Woodland, Ancient Woodlands Sites, Ancient and Veteran Trees and clearly states that development will not normally be permitted that would result in any of the impacts specified in criteria i-x.17.   If veteran or ancient trees/woodland are identified on site they must be considered carefully in relation to a development proposal and every attempt must be made to integrate the tree into a development proposal from an early stage to secure its long-term survival and retention.
  • The council have committed £8 million to this development (with the Welsh government committing another £4 million), ostensibly as a loan, though in reality this is a bail out, and a sign that the development is not commercially feasible.  No details have been given about the terms of repayment for this public money, and the likelihood is that this money will not be repaid (for a recent example of a council giving out millions to tourism developers and never getting it back, see the example of Pembrokeshire council and Bluestone: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-65584510?fbclid=IwAR3nrxnzvQ81fknT0deEwwWvAwwPjNwDtN7952pYDwjsmeUGCCh7vX5zi9A). 
  • When the development comes to the end of its life, who is going to pay to take down all the steel pylons, concrete luge tracks and buildings?  The answer is no-one will.  Skyline can’t even afford to build this development never mind take it all down again.  The result will be an eyesore that blights the skyline of Swansea for all future generations.  What’s more, the quality of the hill for local people will have been permanently marred.

Lastly, I would also like to direct your attention to Section 197 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1992 which places a duty on local planning authorities to ensure, wherever it is appropriate, that in granting planning permission for a development, adequate provision is made by the imposition of conditions, for the preservation or planting of trees. If it appears to a local planning authority that it is expedient in the interests of amenity to make provision for the preservation of trees or woodlands, Section 198 of the Act provides the power to make a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) for that purpose.

I would like to ask you as my MP to instigate proceedings for a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) to be placed on the woodland on Kilvey Hill, as a local amenity enjoyed by thousands of Swansea residents, and in accordance with the above act.  

Once again, I ask, for the benefit of Swansea and the reputation of local governance on the fundamental issues of democracy, climate change, and the destruction of the natural world, to do whatever is in your power to stop this development from happening.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards

[INSERT YOUR NAME]

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