The County Council’s Planning Committee on 5 August is recommended to give conditional approval to applications for two wind turbines at Great House Farm, Undy (previously deferred after a recommendation for refusal) and for a solar farm at Pen y Cae Mawr, Wentwood. The applicant’s appeal against the refusal of a solar farm at Manor Farm, Llanfapley starts at County Hall, Usk on 13 August. The committee will also receive a briefing paper on the planning policy context for onshore shale gas exploration.
Footnote: the Planning Committee approved both applications.
The Brecon Beacons National Park Authority is consulting on Supplementary Planning Guidance for (a) Enabling Appropriate Development in the Countryside and (b) Landscape and Development. View them here and respond by Thursday, 18 September.
The Welsh Government has announced the scope of its Heritage Bill to be put before the Assembly in spring 2015. Details here.
Monmouthshire is in an area at risk from controversial fracking, the process that extracts gas from the strata below us by pumping water and chemicals down to release it. Abergavenny and Crickhowell Friends of the Earth are worried about this because, apart from other concerns, it would open up more fossil fuels at the expense of the extra renewable energy that is needed to fight climate change. They are calling on our First Minister to call a moratorium on fracking in Wales – call Rod Walters on 01873 854404 to give your support.
Monmouthshire Building Society has launched its Community Acorn Fund to give back to community groups and projects throughout the local area. A £25,000 funding pool has been allocated across the Society’s branch and agency network, and local community groups are invited to apply for funding by 30 September. Full information and guidance can be found at www.acornfund.co.uk.
Economy, Science and Transport Minister Edwina Hart has announced that, having considered consultation responses, the Welsh Government has decided to proceed with its Preferred Route for the M4 Relief Road south of Newport. Arguments for an option that would be based on an upgrading of the Southern Distributor have therefore been rejected. A public inquiry may need to be held in 2016 or 2017 and construction may begin in 2018. To view the Plan, associated documents and the 2014 Preferred Route, please visit www.m4newport.com. Hard copies of the Plan and the SEA Post Adoption Statement can also be viewed at Newport Library and the Government buildings in Cathays Park Cardiff.
The White Paper ‘Reforming Local Government’ is the Welsh Government’s statement of intent about the future of Local Government. It invites your suggestions and other responses by 1 October. The paper is the Government’s response to the Williams Commission and it invites wide engagement with the reality of the need to reform structures and services, and our expectations of them, in the face of funding pressures. Topics such as community engagement, transparency, scrutiny, community councils and neighbourhood management, collaboration and funding feature as much as the well-publicised merger proposals.
Welsh Government is seeking views on proposals to improve the availability of land for allotments and opportunities for community growing. Comments are required by 6 October.
FCFCG will be hosting the European FCF conference 2014 in Swansea from 25-29 September and the FCFCG’s AGM will take place during this conference on Saturday 27 September. For more details and to book go to the FCFCG website.
Following the successful launch of the UK’s first aquaponics solar greenhouse, Monmouthshire’s Humble by Nature have launched a number of courses, hosted by Aquaponics UK, about aquaponics or about building your own system. To read more about the launch and the courses, go to the Tyfu Pobl blog.
The Welsh Government has published its Wellbeing of Future Generations Bill that will place a duty on public bodies to take account of future problems when making decisions. Climate change, environment, jobs and skills are expected to be the biggest future issues. While there may be general support for thinking ahead and future-proofing, lack of clarity may be the main criticism of the Bill.