Some of the Welsh SACs are in national parks, and most if not all are also designated Sites of Special Scientific Interest, so expect to be told that it won't make any difference if we chuck SACs along with air pollution standards, employment rights, regulations to protect consumers (what precisely is in that sausage?) and a lot of other EU safeguards that stand in the way of big business on the promised post-Brexit bonfire of red tape.
We will be taking control and freeing ourselves from all those foreign shackles.
In one small corner of Wales, the Brexiteers are right: getting rid of SAC status won't make a scrap of difference to the fate of part of the Cernydd Carmel SAC (also a SSSI), because laws and regulations which are not enforced are just meaningless scraps of paper.
SACs are supposed to be the gold standard when it comes to protecting our countryside from development. SSSIs can be destroyed with official blessing if a local authority and Natural Resources Wales agree that the interests of development outweigh the conservation considerations.
That is what happened, for example, at Selar Farm near Glynneath, where a former SSSI was obliterated with official blessing by Celtic Energy. Other opencast sites operated by Celtic were supposed to be restored by the company when it finished mining, but funds to pay for the restoration were never paid in, or they were spirited away perfectly legally to British offshore tax havens. If most of those sites are to be restored as countryside, the taxpayer will have to find hundreds of millions of pounds to do it.
The interests of development, or perhaps the interests of Celtic Energy's shareholders, outweighed the interests of the SSSI, and the then council director of environment told councillors that there were plenty of other SSSIs anyway. One of his successors, Mr Will Watson, went a step further and became CEO of Celtic Energy.
In theory, getting rid of an SAC is a bit more tricky. It can be done, but needs to be sanctioned higher up the food chain, and it can only be done if there is no alternative to the proposed development.
But things are rather different in Carmarthenshire.
This blog last visited Cernydd Carmel in April 2016. To cut a long story short, the landowner trashed a chunk of the SAC, felling trees, removing vegetation and topsoil and engaging in a spot of quarrying for what may or may not have been commercial quarrying. He then built a road across the site for purposes which only make sense if you know that his main businesses are road haulage, scrap metal and quarrying.
Happily for our man, Mr Andrew Thomas, the council has always taken the view that he is a farmer, and so this road is an agricultural track as far as they are concerned.
Needless to say, all of this work on the supposedly heavily protected SAC was done without asking either the council or Natural Resources Wales. The council was told about it as work was in progress, but it forgot to tell NRW.
The council then politely invited Mr Thomas to submit a retrospective planning application, which he did in April 2015. The application was eventually validated by planning officers in October 2015.
NRW reluctantly became involved when members of the public and the then Assembly Member, Rhodri Glyn Thomas, made a fuss and started asking questions.
Discussions between the council, NRW and representatives of Mr Thomas began around May 2015, with the aim of agreeing a restoration plan for the land.
Restoration was a bit of a misnomer because almost from the beginning, the council and NRW decided that asking Mr Thomas to put things back as they were was not feasible. As for the road, they formed the view that digging it up would cause more damage. Moreover, NRW decided that prosecuting Mr Thomas would be too expensive.
Almost a year and a half after discussions began, no restoration plan has been implemented, and the planning application seems to be frozen in time.
No such delays were encountered over at nearby Ffynnon Luan, another of Mr Thomas's holdings, where retrospective planning permission for land reprofiling and a road was granted rather more swiftly earlier this year. The only difference was that Ffynnon Luan is not on an SAC.
Perhaps they're all waiting for Brexit and the eventual abolition of SACs, at which point the SSSI status could be removed on the grounds of essential quarrying.
Meanwhile, Mr Thomas can carry on as though nothing had happened, which of course is manifestly the case, with the application stuck in the long grass in Spillman Street, although you won't find much long grass on the land itself.
You don't need to be Iolo Williams to realise that most municipal golf courses provide richer habitats than the sterile expanse of mown commercial rye grass at Blaenypant:
|Picture taken around 14 August|
So Mr Thomas won't be going to court, and he gets to keep his road/agricultural track on a "farm" which has no arable land or livestock, apart from horses, and the restoration plan seems set to gather dust down in the archives.