Our Response to Circuit of Wales Decision

Tuesday 27th June 2017

Our Response to Circuit of Wales DecisionOur Response to Circuit of Wales Decision

Gwent Wildlife Trust (GWT) are pleased the unique mosaic of wildlife habitats on the former proposed Circuit of Wales site will not now be destroyed. But with continuing uncertainty over the future of the site GWT are calling for this wildlife-rich, valuable ecosystem to be protected for future generations.

GWT’s chief Executive Ian Rappel said: “The Welsh Government’s decision regarding the Circuit of Wales will come as a bitter disappointment for anyone who believed the developers’ hype over jobs creation. But every cloud has a silver lining and there is now a real opportunity with enhancement of these ecologically precious habitats to create a ‘green gateway’ nature reserve stretching from the Eastern Valleys to the Brecon Beacons. This is an opportunity to proactively reconnect the communities of Blaenau Gwent and the Eastern Valleys with the National Park – to help the people of Blaenau Gwent reconnect with nature and the health and wellbeing benefits that this brings.

“If Welsh Government and the developers are serious about sustainability then GWT would welcome the opportunity to work with them to manage and protect the site for the benefit of people and wildlife. In doing so, we are confident that we could create jobs, training and tourism, and allow this unique mosaic of upland habitats to continue for future generations.”

GWT have fought the plans to develop the now ill-fated Circuit of Wales on the huge area of upland moorland habitat on the southern edge of the Brecon Beacons near Ebbw Vale, since July 2013, when the proposal was first considered at Blaenau Gwent Council’s Planning Committee. GWT also opposed the Circuit of Wales plans during a Public Inquiry into the deregistration of the Common land in 2015.

Mr Rappel added: “Gwent Wildlife Trust does not oppose all development but is duty bound to stand up for wildlife where threats are real, irreversible and avoidable. This upland area around Rassau is a real Gwent gem – a rich mixture of heathland, streams and acid grassland. The site is also incredibly valuable for dragonflies with 12 species recorded in the area including; the keeled skimmer, black darter and the UK’s largest the golden-ringed dragonfly, making it a Key Site for Dragonflies in Wales. Some of the rarer plants there are bog asphodel, bog pimpernel and marsh violet, along with birds such as nightjar, wheatears, skylarks, ring ousel, long-eared owl, hen harriers and red grouse.”

This Upland Common was in the process of being de-registered in readiness for the Circuit of Wales development to go ahead. GWT says this process now needs to be halted, and its future secured, by for example giving it nature reserve status, with the support of local people and commoners.

Read more at: http://www.southwalesargus.co.uk/news/15374145.Welsh_government_won_t_ba...