Category Archives: Uncategorized

Penpergwm Solar Farm

A draft application for a large solar farm at Penpergwm, north of A40 near Abergavenny, is attracting considerable attention.  Unlike most planning applications, its size is such that it will be made to the Welsh Planning Inspectorate who will make a recommendation to the Welsh Government on whether this project meets national planning policy for renewable energy projects.  Full details are at Penpergwm Solar Farm | The Proposal and views are wanted by 25 August.  There is a webinar tonight at 7pm and on 5 August at 1pm – Penpergwm Solar Farm | The Process – and you will need to register.

Local Development Plan Moves Forward

Following their consultations on Options earlier this year, Monmouthshire CC have started statutory consultations on their Preferred Option for the Replacement Local Development Plan.  Their final strategic preference is little different from their initial preference in January, but it is important that you respond at this formal stage.  This is the last chance for you to oppose or support their strategy for encouraging more development in the county – the next stage, later this year, will be adding the details.  The deadline is 31 August.

The consultation can be found at RLDP- News & Consultations – Monmouthshire but for all the relevant information go to Planning Policy – Monmouthshire.

Welsh Government Moratorium on Road Building

The Welsh Government has announced a freeze on new road-building while a review of highway schemes across Wales is carried out.  Deputy minister for climate change Lee Waters told the Senedd this week that reaching the goal of net-zero carbon  emissions by 2050 would require a huge effort: ‘In the next 10 years we are going to need to more than double all the cuts we have managed over the last 30 years if we are going to keep temperature rises within safe limits…..Transport makes up some 17 per cent of our total emissions and so must play its part.’  The decision does not appear to favour a Chepstow by-pass unless other measures demonstrably cannot deal with the town’s traffic pollution.

Another Active Travel Consultation

Following an earlier consultation Monmouthshire CC is now seeking views on the final Active Travel Network Maps for the county’s towns and larger villages.  Go to Have Your Say Today – Teithio Llesol Sir Fynwy / Monmouthshire Active Travel – Commonplace.  The maps will help in determining priorities for investment in cycling and walking facilities, a policy priority of Welsh Government likely to receive more as funding for new roads seems likely to recede.  The consultation deadline is 31 August.

The End of the Relief Road?

The Welsh Government has removed the route corridor protection for the abandoned M4 Relief Road, enabling planning authorities and those interested in enhancing the wildlife future of the corridor to review their intentions for the area.  This decision also defies any moves by the UK Government to reverse or overrule the Welsh Government’s decision not to proceed with the Relief Road.

Challenges for Government

As the Climate Change Committee (CCC) says that action in the UK to improve its resilience to the climate crisis is ‘failing’ to keep pace with the impacts of a warming planet, Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford this week set out his administration’s programme for the next five years – one which has many green commitments.  CCC’s evidence shows the gap between the level of risk the UK faces and the level of adaption under way has widened, and that even action now to achieve the Paris agreement temperature goal for 2050 and as part of the levelling-up agenda will not stop climate change and the rise in sea levels.

Drakeford has insisted that climate change and the environment will be at the heart of the new government, stressing that his administration had created a “super-ministry” under Julie James with Lee Waters as her Deputy, which for the first time has brought together transport, planning, housing and energy.  Welsh Government – Programme for Government sets out across-the-board commitments to address well-being objectives for the next five years.  Welcome though many of the intentions are, the Programme illustrates how much we must rely on UK Government action to address the CCC concerns.

Active Travel Post Advertised

The County Council is advertising for a full-time position described as ‘an exciting role to join MonLife and contribute to shaping the Active Travel agenda right across Monmouthshire. This role will play a key part it coordinating projects and areas of work across a number of services to deliver outcomes aligned with our strategic focus for Active Travel’ – Project Support Officer – Active Travel – Monmouthshire.  The post supports the Active Travel Officer and the closing date is 30 April.

MonLife is part of Monmouthshire County Council and delivers leisure, youth and outdoor education, green infrastructure and countryside access, play, learning, destination management, arts, museums and attractions.

New CEO for National Park

Brecon Beacons National Park Authority has announced that they have appointed Catherine Mealing-Jones as their new Chief Executive Officer, Catherine will take up the post in July 2021.Catherine is currently Director of Growth at the UK Space Agency where she has been leading strategy, policy and programmes to drive economic growth in the space sector and the wider economy, bringing space into local economic development strategies, and driving innovative new uses of space technology, data and applications.

Wye Valley Tunnel Opens to Walkers and Cyclists

After years of campaigning and preparation a pedestrian and cycle path on a disused railway line in the Wye Valley has now opened.  The Wye Valley Greenway project aims to repurpose the long-since defunct railway line between Chepstow and Monmouth.  Part of the line – now open to the public – passes through a 1km tunnel near the National Diving and Activity Centre (NDAC) just outside Chepstow.

The tunnel was surveyed for 18 months before being opened to the public, as the area is important for lesser horseshoe bats.  Low level lighting has been installed which, although disorienting at first, gives the tunnel atmosphere as well as protecting the bats.  To protect the bats the tunnel section is closed off at night with large gates.

However, concerns have already been expressed about the safety of mixing walkers and cyclists in the narrow low-lit tunnel where no cycle lights or torches are allowed.

NRW Seeking Board Members

Welsh Government is looking for three people to join the Board at Natural Resources Wales.  Applications are welcome from anyone who is passionate about making a difference to Wales’ environment, from candidates from all backgrounds and walks of life, and particularly from under-represented groups.

Applications opened on 25 March and the closing date is Friday 23 April 2021.   During this time, NRW will be holding drop in engagement sessions for prospective candidates. To book a place at one of the information events, contact NRW’s Board Secretariat.  Follow this link for more details and the application form.