Ebbw Vale racetrack would be ‘devastating’ - green campaigners
GREEN campaigners warned plans to build a £250 million racetrack in the Gwent countryside would be "devastating".
The Open Spaces Society condemned proposals to open the Circuit of Wales in Ebbw Vale, which the partnership behind the move says will bring 9,000 jobs to the area, saying it would threaten the status of the nearby Brecon Beacons national park.
The park became only the fifth site in the world to be recognised as giving unparalleled views of the night skies last month.
Society general secretary, Kate Ashbrook, said: "Its effect will be devastating.
"People’s peaceful enjoyment of this lovely open space, with its extensive views, will be wrecked."
The 3.5 mile track would feature a 4x4 circuit, international kart track and motocross track.
Though Formula 1 has not been specifically mentioned, analysts believe the massive development could rival the supremacy of Silverstone.
The Circuit of Wales has also been likened to a "small town" as it is to feature a hotel, race academy, technology park, grandstands, showrooms and a petrol station.
The application is now with Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council’s planning department.
Ms Ashbrook added: "The development abuts the boundary of the Brecon Beacons National Park, which recently won the accolade of International Dark Sky Reserve. "It will be hard for the park to maintain that status with an artificially-lit motor circuit on its doorstep."
The Heads of the Valleys Development Company is spearheading the multi-million pound project.
A spokesman said yesterday: "The proposed Circuit of Wales development has been subjected to a rigorous Environmental Impact Assessment process as part of the planning process. "Minimising the impact on the environment is one requirement of these regulations, and environmental issues such as ecology, landscape and lighting are fully considered. "The Environmental Statement included within the outline planning application identifies appropriate mitigation actions and strategies that will ensure the environmental impact of the development on the surrounding area is minimised, and also sets out the significant economic opportunities of the Circuit of Wales, which will have a transformational impact on one of the poorest regions in the UK."
It is expected Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council’s planning committee could make a decision by May 2013.
A decision on whether to allow the project will be made by Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council’s planning committee around May 2013.