The final decision on building the M4 relief road near Newport may be made by the next first minister, Carwyn Jones has conceded after a non-binding vote by AMs this week calling for his successor – due to assume the position on 12 December – to determine the project.
Blaenau Gwent Council is in ‘early discussions with interested parties’ over a proposal for a technology-based employment hub at Ebbw Vale which could include a test circuit. The site was formerly earmarked for the controversial but aborted Circuit of Wales (CoW) project at Rassau. Recently the council revealed that it has applied to renew the planning permission for the key elements of the CoW scheme “in order that any potential development opportunities can be explored fully”. According to the Western Mail the new plans, by ‘two of Wales’s leading financial figures’, for the 320-hectare site would involve a motor racing circuit as well as state-of-the-art testing facilities for the automotive industry. The cost could be £150m and they are looking for part-funding from the Cardiff City Region Deal for what could be a £150 million initiative.
We couldn’t resist posting extracts from one of Transition Monmouth’s excellent newsletters – hope they don’t mind. Why not join them? – firstname.lastname@example.org.
The IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) report published last month – download from https://www.ipcc.ch/news_and_events/pr_outreach_vietnam_2018.shtml or read one of the many articles such as https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/oct/08/global-warming-must-not-exceed-15c-warns-landmark-un-report – told the world that it really had to get its act together. It states, loudly + clearly, that unless we make significant changes in the next 12 years we will reach a tipping point in climate change that will be irreversible. What to do? We can all make our individual contributions minimising our carbon footprint but it needs a whole lot else. It needs governments + corporations around the world to unite in the huge changes that are needed. How about we start with our own Government? How about getting them to stop building roads + runways – invest in public transport instead. How about getting them to support renewable energy + stop fracking, etc etc?
For a start there are two discussion opportunities:- Discussion Evening – the IPCC report: Tuesday 27 November, 7.30 at the Robin Hood: Discussion led by John Payne + Haydn Cullen-Jones; Gathering for some challenging conversation: Tuesday 11 December, 6.30 at Trealy Farm, Mitchel Troy NP25 4BL – contact https://thepracticeofthewild.com if you would like to attend.
Or for those of you ready for some direct civil disobedience action there’s the Extinction Rebellion, launched a couple of weeks ago with a rally in Parliament Square + a few arrests. There have been more – much reported on social media, not so much in the mainstream media (there’s a surprise!). Locally there is a group in Abergavenny – on Facebook as Extinction Rebellion: Abergavenny Affinity Group – providing support/information + organising groups to join in protests in London, + also at the Senedd on 4 December when the vote on the new M4 through the Gwent Levels will be taken. Contact them via Facebook or email Rob Proctor at email@example.com.
Food Sense: Wednesday 28 November, 7.30 at the Robin Hood – food poverty, social isolation, food waste – come along, or email firstname.lastname@example.org for further details.
No New M4 Protest: Tuesday 4 December, 12.30 at the Senedd – join a car share from Monmouth – details from Rob Proctor at email@example.com
While MPs of both main parties are calling for Welsh Government to make an early decision on the M4 relief road, campaigners against the road are urged to email AMs who will debate the matter in early December before Carwyn Jones is expected to make a decision before he leaves office on 11 December. Friends of the Earth plan an Assembly demonstration for 12.30pm on 4 December.
The Welsh Government has approved a huge solar farm south of the former steelworks at Llanwern, Newport. The Gwent Farmers Community Solar Scheme, where 250,000panels will power 15,000 homes, is the first renewable energy ‘development of national significance’ to be approved under new procedures.
Many Welsh planning authorities have found that they are failing to meet the Government’s expectation that they have a five-year supply of available housing land, despite adequate unused allocations in Local Development Plans. This year the Government allowed councils to disregard the ‘considerable weight’ to be attached to this consideration when dealing with applications for unallocated sites – especially helpful where the LDP revision process is underway, as in Monmouthshire. In September the county council decided that ‘appropriate weight’ should be given to this consideration, and defined a list of ‘ground rules’ to be satisfied.
Since the beginning of August Monmouthshire CC has approved in outline or detail land for about 600 homes, 240 of which have been on unallocated land. Over 100 of the latter at Raglan were considered to satisfy the new policy despite strong counter-arguments. The county must now have a five-year supply, provided that developments proceed to detailed approval quickly. There are more applications on unallocated land to be decided, but we must hope that any substantial releases are only made via the LDP revision that will have to provide for our needs up to 2033. No doubt that will also prove controversial but at least it will be the outcome of a careful process with which all can engage.
A Select Committee of MCC is to consider a new Litter Strategy and Action Plan for Monmouthshire. The report – https://democracy.monmouthshire.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=139&MId=2624 – refers to the increased expectations of the public for dealing with litter and changes in the type of litter. Last year, for the first time in ten years, there was an increase in street litter, and budget cuts are likely. At this stage councillors are asked for their views on options for action.