The Welsh Government has launched its national strategy for flood and coastal erosion risk management – https://gov.wales/national-strategy-flood-and-coastal-erosion-risk-management-wales. It sets out long-term policies to manage flooding – as well as the measures that will be taken over the next decade by organisations like Natural Resources Wales, local authorities and water companies to improve how the country plans, prepares and adapts to climate change over the coming century.
Fresh guidance in the shape of an updated Technical Advice Note 15 is promised by 2021. Part of the new approach is the Wales Flood Map, also just launched – https://naturalresources.wales/evidence-and-data/maps/long-term-flood-risk/?lang=en. This is designed to bring all Welsh flood and coastal risk mapping in one place, starting with the new Flood Risk Assessment for Wales (FRAW). The FRAW maps will be updated every six months so that people can see how flood schemes have reduced risk.
Monmouthshire’s Replacement Local Development Plan will not now be adopted before the autumn of 2023. A report to the Council on 22 October explains that, because of Covid-19, progress on the replacement was halted on government advice in March and that a review of the consequences of the pandemic, together with revised population and household projections, requires a new programme, or Delivery Agreement.
It is intended to revisit both the Growth and Spatial Options and the Preferred Strategy stages, with consultation on the former in December and January. The Preferred Strategy will then be the subject of consultation in May/June 2021 with the full Deposit Plan consultation in July/September 2022.
The Welsh Government has enabled the present LDP to endure until it is replaced – about 21 months longer than its original life.
MCC and their partners are soon to consult on the latest stage of the Chepstow Transport Study, a short list of options from which a preference will be selected. To participate visit https://virtualengage.arup.com/chepstow-transport-study from 2 November to 13 December.
The Welsh Government has issued the latest revision of it National Development Framework – https://gov.wales/future-wales-national-plan-2040 – which is to be scrutinised by the Senedd before finalisation early next year. Changes since the draft included revised population and housing projections. The proposal for a green belt north of M4 from the English border to Cardiff remains.
For those who may be interested in the complex world of household waste recycling, there is a lengthy MCC committee report at https://democracy.monmouthshire.gov.uk/documents/s26574/1a%20Future%20of%20waste%20services%20-%20Strong%20Communities%20Special%20Report%20September%202020%20V.5%20_%20FINAL.pdf. The closure of recycling centres during the Covid-19 lockdown resulted in over 70% of kerbside collections being recyclable, reinforcing the Council’s aim to reduce the number and use of recycling centres in favour of collection. The Usk centre is still likely to be permanently closed unless operated by the Town Council or others, and booking will probably continue to be necessary to use recycling centres, with reduced hours/days.
There are many worrying reports on climate change that could be recommended, but most are long and require considerable reading time. The recently launched Climate Assembly UK report is similarly long but a little different. It focuses on the Government’s commitment to be zero carbon by 2050 so may not be as demanding as many would wish, but it is the outcome of the lengthy deliberations of a Citizens’ Assembly of over 100 people intended to be representative of the population. There are over fifty recommendations to be considered by Parliament and the UK Government. The report and a 31-page summary are available at: https://www.climateassembly.uk/report/
Provisional recycling percentages for 2019/20 show that Monmouthshire improved from 63.37% in 2018/19 to 65.57%, exceeding the Welsh Government’s expectation of 64%. Newport, which had a poor figure of 58.95% in 2018/19, managed to exceed Monmouthshire in 2019/20 with 66.36%. Blaenau Gwent and Torfaen also showed marked improvement.
Gwent Wildlife Trust is to receive a share of a £2.5 million grant to Wildlife Trusts Wales from the National Lottery to help local communities in Newport tackle climate change. The project will empower young people to take the lead on local climate change action in their own areas. Young people will receive training and skills including learning how to create green roofs and rain gardens, dig ponds, plant community orchards and hedgerows for wildlife corridors, and to take part in peatland restoration. This grant is among the first to be announced as part of the National Lottery funded Climate Action Fund, a ten-year £100 million fund to reduce the carbon footprint of communities.
The Budweiser company has appealed against Newport’s refusal of their application to display a large logo at the top of the approved wind turbine on the Caldicot Levels which will provide renewable energy for their Magor brewery.
GAVO Volunteer Team and Monmouthshire County Council, initially with Tintern and Abergavenny, are recruiting Volunteer Ambassadors to provide a warm, local welcome and to signpost visitors to the wide range of things to see and do in Monmouthshire, encouraging them to explore their beautiful environment and venture further across the county. More areas are expected to follow in due course.
Volunteers have been at the heart of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic and their work in supporting communities has been overwhelming. Now as Monmouthshire County Council moves to the next phase of supporting businesses on their road to recovery, volunteers are being called upon once more. As well as promoting local businesses, the aim of the Volunteer Ambassadors will be to give reassurance to people who may be nervous about interacting with other members of the public in a busy area or who may have been missing social contact.
Anyone wishing to be considered for the roles would need to meet certain criteria and be available from mid-August to mid-September. For more information, the full role description, criteria and applications please visit https://gwent.volunteering-wales.net/vk/volunteers/my_opportunities_info_ur.htm?PID=10158118&searchqs (Tintern) or https://gwent.volunteering-wales.net/vk/volunteers/my_opportunities_info_ur.htm?PID=10158064&searchqs (Abergavenny)