The Gwent Levels - a priceless landscape for people and wildlife and a picturesque asset to the Newport Marathon.

Thursday 26th April 2018

The Newport Marathon route and the Proposed New M4 route

Gwent Wildlife Trust (GWT) have welcomed news that Welsh Government and Newport City Council will invest between them £210,000 in the future of the Gwent Levels over the next three years, courtesy of the city’s marathon.

However, the Trust says questions remain about the future of the marathon and the investment of taxpayers’ money, should the proposed new M4 go ahead.

The current Newport marathon, enjoys a scenic and flat route through the picturesque Gwent Levels. However, as shown on the map, this will be devastated by the proposed new M4 motorway plans.

Gwent Wildlife Trust’s Chief Executive Ian Rappel said: “Investment in the precious landscape that is the Gwent Levels via the Newport Marathon, is good news and we hope shows real recognition from Welsh Government and Newport City Council that this area is beneficially important to the future of the marathon, green leisure in Gwent and to local people and wildlife generally.
“However, the current marathon route would be destroyed by the proposed M4 route, so what does this mean for the investment and the future of such an event on the Gwent Levels?
“We know only too well that the Gwent Levels is a picturesque and priceless landscape. We hope Newport City Council can see this as well as Welsh Government, who will ultimately make the decision about the M4 and seal the fate of the Gwent Levels.
“Newport Council and Welsh Government need to consider the investment they are pledging to the marathon using taxpayers’ money and recognise the negative and destructive consequences that a new M4 motorway being built over the current marathon route will bring.”

Mr Rappel added: “It has been suggested that the Newport Marathon could generate £1.1m for the local economy, tourism and it has wider health benefits for people and we totally applaud this.
“The marathon will bring visitors and runners from all over the UK and many will return based on the experience they have had, seeing and running around the glorious Gwent Levels, enjoying its coastal wildlife and historic landscape.
“This area is like no other in the UK, and that’s why we should cherish and showcase it as a green leisure hub, instead of destroying it and concreting over it with a motorway.”

Triathlete and 53-year-old Gwent Wildlife Trust member Phil Tilley, of Llandenny, near Raglan, is running the Newport Marathon in aid of the wildlife and conservation charity. The retired Marketing Director is also calling on ‘the powers that be’ to see the Gwent Levels as a vital asset.
Phil said: “I’m running for Gwent Wildlife Trust to not only try and raise some funds for the Trust but more importantly highlight the work that needs to be done to protect our enjoyment of our leisure activities and the wildlife, especially on the Gwent Levels.
“When the new Newport Marathon was announced I thought ‘fantastic, a marathon my doorstep being promoted to attract visitors to really enjoy Newport and the Gwent Levels surrounds.’
“But when I checked out the route, I could not believe it, the organisers were promoting the beauty of Gwent by setting a route which will take thousands of runners right around the Gwent Levels, from the centre of Newport out to Magor and back via Goldcliffe and Redwick.
“The irony, that this was being used to promote Newport and the area and yet it was also the same area that is threatened and could be destroyed because of the proposed new motorway route.
“I hope that the recently announced investment from Welsh Government and Newport City Council in the marathon, is because they see the Gwent Levels as a vital asset to both the future success of the event and the health and wellbeing of local people and wildlife.”

If you would like to sponsor Phil in his marathon run for Gwent Wildlife Trust please donate here:  https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/Phil.Tilley_SaveTheGwentLevels_NoNewM4