GWENT Wildlife Trust will campaign against plans for a £250m racetrack for Ebbw Vale.

The trust says the proposals, which would lead to the creation of a unique facility in Wales promising thousands of jobs, would virtually wipe out valuable habitats spreading over an area the size of Abergavenny.

The trust says the proposed site for the Circuit of Wales is not wasteland, but is full of wildlife including small mammals, which attract birds of prey such as the hen harrier and red kites.

Rare dragonflies are also found at the area north of Rassau and the group is concerned that the publicity surrounding the development has made no mention of the existing nature conversation value of the area.

The trust says the current proposals would completely wipe out all of the habitats within an area of over 300 hectares – almost the size of a small town like Abergavenny, and say the developers have yet to secure any compensation for the "enormous" loss.

The trust says the Heads of the Valley Development Company, which has been created to set up and operate the track, is proceeding as if planning permission is a foregone conclusion, which showed a disregard for the lawful planning process, and a lack of understanding of how much people in Blaenau Gwent care about the nature around them.

Gwent Wildlife Trust, chief executive Tom Clarke said: "We would be failing in our duty to protect wildlife if we did not oppose its (the scheme’s) destruction on this scale."

The charity is waiting for the details of the planning application, expected next month, before it launches a full campaign.

The Heads of the Valleys Development Company says creating the Circuit of Wales will create 9,000 jobs and boost the Welsh economy by £50 million a year as it would attract 750,000 visitors a year to the region.

Abergavenny firm Alun Griffiths (Contractors) Ltd and world-renowned FCC Construccion have been appointed to deliver the project, which is set to include a 3.5 mile race track, karting and motorcross tracks, a race academy and technology park.

There are plans also for two hotels on the site and commentators are already saying the track could compete with Silverstone for world class race events.

Developers 'surprised' at Wildlife Trust's stance

The Heads of the Valleys Development Company responded by saying they will comply with European regulations for compensation measures for any environmental impacts which the circuit may have before submitting a planning application later this month.

They said they had been liaising with the Gwent Wildlife Trust as part of this compensation process, and added: "we are surprised that the Trust should take this stance, having not yet seen our final proposals.

"We have already significantly altered the design of the project to reduce any impact on the environment, which highlights just how seriously we take these matters."