Wales' leading naturalist says Ebbw Vale's Circuit of Wales will be a 'devastating blow' to Gwent wildlife
WALES’ leading naturalist has hit out at the Circuit of Wales scheme calling it a devastating blow to the wildlife of Wales.
Iolo Williams, who has presented more than 25 TV series for the BBC and S4C, said no mitigation scheme could replace what will be lost and that a minister must look at it the plans.
He said it will release 10,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases through the destruction of peat moorland.
The Welsh Government is considering whether to call-in the planning application for the Rassau racetrack proposal – although Natural Resources Wales has said the move is not needed.
In a statement released through the Gwent Wildlife Trust, Mr Williams said: “The Circuit of Wales represents another devastating blow to the wildlife of Wales and Blaenau Gwent.
“I urge the Welsh Government to call this application in and properly re-assess the huge environmental damage this scheme will do.
“The loss of such important upland heathland habitat is irreversible and no mitigation scheme could hope to replace what will be lost.
“The services this area provides locally – in terms of green space, water quality and wildlife – for the people of Blaenau Gwent must also be recognised and protected, or I fear the worst for the people that live there for the future.”
The statement came in a letter to the Argus from Tom Clarke, the Trust’s chief executive officer, who said his group’s concerns are not the “rantings of a disconnected pressure group but are reasonable questions from a local charity”.
The trust is worried that building the racetrack will destroy irreplaceable habitats of nationally important species.
“Gwent Wildlife Trust does not automatically oppose development or job creation. However, we are a wildlife conservation charity and it is essential that we scrutinise significant applications for development that would cause irreversible damage to the wildlife of Gwent,” Mr Clarke wrote.
“We are seriously concerned about the flooding this development may cause and we are seriously concerned about the air pollution it will bring, and they will both directly affect those that live there.
“There are significant economic and environmental questions over the long term sustainability of the Circuit of Wales proposal, which have not yet been adequately answered.”
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