Welsh Government Policy

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May 242017

Welsh Government is consulting on a proposal that, to reduce flood and pollution risk, local authorities should become responsible for ensuring that all new developments have a sustainable surface water drainage system (SuDS) that meets mandatory standards.  Details at https://consultations.gov.wales/consultations/implementation-sustainable-drainage-systems-new-developments. Consultation closes 11 August.

Welsh Government also intends to revise its planning policy so that within designated areas new developments will have to ensure solutions that address and mitigate the noise from nearby music venues.

NRW Objects to M4 Relief Road

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May 192017

Natural Resources Wales, the Welsh Government’s own advisers on the environment, has told the M4 Relief Road inquiry that the Welsh Government has not demonstrated that the project would comply with its statutory duty to promote sustainable development.  While accepting that new reens to replace those lost are satisfactorily designed, the NRW witness said that replicating the complex ecology of the SSSIs would be challenging.  NRW has also questioned the proposals to manage tidal flood risk over the lifetime of the road, a time of climate change.

Election Hustings

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May 142017

Hustings arranged by Friends of the Earth for Friday, 2 June (7.30pm) at Bridges Community Centre may have a more environmental focus.  Questions beforehand to haydn@hotmail.com.

Future Landscapes – Continued

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May 142017

The Welsh Government has announced that it is considering legal changes to the landscape protection regimes of National Parks and AONBs.  This may mean departing from the current one-size-fits-all system to being more guided by community-led place planning that reflects local needs.

Future Landscapes – Delivering for Wales

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May 112017

The Independent Review of Designated Landscapes in Wales, commissioned by the Welsh Government, reported in the summer of 2015. This report made many recommendations covering proposals and observations on purposes, principles, vision, governance models, planning and funding. Following this report, a Future Landscapes Wales Working Group, chaired by Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas AM, was established. Their purpose was to explore the Marsden recommendations and the case for change and to report their findings. The Working Group involved representatives of the national parks, AONBs, interest groups and businesses. Their ‘Future Landscapes: Delivering for Wales’ report has now been published – http://gov.wales/topics/environmentcountryside/consmanagement/review-designated-landscapes-wales/?lang=en.

Conservation groups are already criticising the report for its lack of clarity and for neglecting the primary conservation purpose of these designations. While there is reference to controversial topics such as tourism and renewable energy, the report is more concerned with matters such as governance, collaboration, monitoring change, sustainable land management and drawing on good practice.

Monmouthshire Bee Festival

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May 082017

20 May is World Bee Awareness Day, and in celebration Bees for Development are organising the second Monmouthshire Bee Festival. Events include the World’s First Bee Joke competition.  Come and meet bee organisations in Monmouth’s Nelson Garden.

Support Verges Campaign

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May 082017

A message from Monmouthshire Meadows Group: if you haven’t yet signed the letter to your council to support PlantLife’s Verges Campaign (relaunched this year) then please do. There was good national publicity around this issue recently and it feels like some progress is being made, but it’s an uphill struggle and it is desperately important for the survival of wildflower species – http://plantlife.love-wildflowers.org.uk/roadvergecampaign2016#letter-to-your-council.

Massive Solar Plan on the Levels?

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May 072017

It is reported that a 345 acre solar farm is being planned by Gwent farmers on land at Llanwern, Newport.  Large enough to power over 15,000 homes, any planning application would require public consultation before submission and be determined by the Welsh Government.  Wildlife interests, already fighting the M4 Relief Road proposals in the area but well-disposed to renewable energy, have major concerns about the impact of the farm on the Levels Site of Special Scientific Interest.  The developers maintain that the development could protect and enhance the SSSI reens and their wildlife.