Circuit of Wales future in doubt - Welsh Trusts respond

Tuesday 12th April 2016

The proposals to build an international motor sport facility in Ebbw Vale received a serious blow yesterday when Welsh Government announced that it cannot underwrite the £357m project.

The Wildlife Trusts in Wales have long campaigned against the project as it was environmentally unsustainable and would have destroyed over 200 hectares of wildlife-rich habitat. In the current climate of uncertainty, The Wildlife Trusts in Wales are calling for an immediate halt to the damaging earthworks and ecology work that are currently being undertaken as early phases of this development. Ecological restoration for any damage will only add to the £9 million already drawn from the public purse. Natural Resources Wales must intervene to prevent further damage if necessary.

The site at Rassau is a mixture of rich acid grassland, heathland and bog, with a stream network throughout. It is home to a wealth of wildlife including rare dragonflies and birds including the hen harrier and grasshopper warbler. If the Circuit of Wales project were to go ahead, there would be negative consequences for wildlife in the wider area, as species will be affected by the increased noise and light, and the increased traffic on the local road network.
Through its destruction of upland and peat habitats the project would also lead to increased greenhouse gas emissions and increase the risk of pollution and local flooding. The development goes against local and national planning policy as well as the new sustainable principles of the Well-being of Future Generations Act.

Ian Rappel, Chief Executive of Gwent Wildlife Trust, said:

"We understand that there is a need in the local area for jobs and economic regeneration but the Circuit of Wales project would degrade and erode the natural environment which is essential for our health and well -being. The development would blight this tranquil corner of Welsh countryside where Nye Bevan and his wife chose their remains to be scattered, without coming close to achieving the overly ambitious economic projections."

Image of Golden Ringed Dragonfly (Jane Corey), just one of the many species of diverse wildlife that live in this part of Wales.