Category Archives: Uncategorized

White Paper for Clean Air

The Welsh Government has put out a clean air white paper for consultation, which includes proposals for a new air quality target setting framework alongside plans to improve the local air quality management regime. It also includes plans to introduce a new dedicated charging scheme for trunk roads, further anti-idling guidance and the power for local authorities to increase the amount of fixed penalty fines for idling. The paper is at https://gov.wales/white-paper-clean-air-wales-bill  and comments are needed by 7 April

MCC Restart Development Plan Consultation

Monmouthshire County Council is restarting consultations on its Replacement Local Development Plan (RLDP) for the County (excluding the area within the Brecon Beacons National Park) which will cover the period 2018-2033.  The Council is revisiting the Growth and Spatial Options stage of the RLDP process due to the publication of the Welsh Government 2018-based population and household projections.

The consultation sets out a number of alternative growth and spatial strategy options for the RLDP having regard to the Plan’s evidence base and policy aspirations, and identifies what are currently the Council’s preferred growth and spatial options that are considered to best address the County’s key issues/challenges and meet the RLDP objectives. The current preferences will be reviewed in the light of consultation responses.  Details at https://www.monmouthshire.gov.uk/planning-policy/planning-policy-current-consultations/

A number of virtual events (Microsoft Teams live events) will take place during the consultation/engagement period, whereby officers will present the alternative growth and spatial strategy options and respond to questions. These events will be open for all to access. Details of these events can be viewed on the Council’s website via the following link: https://www.monmouthshire.gov.uk/planning-policy/planning-policy-current-consultations/

Comments are invited on the questions set out in the Growth and Spatial Options Paper. The document is available for non-statutory public consultation from Monday 4 January to Monday 1 February 2021.

MCC Backs Burns Report

Monmouthshire County Council has welcomed the recommendations of the South East Wales Transport Commission (Burns) Final Report and in particular the proposed improvements to rail and bus services as essential alternatives to the M4 Newport relief road.  The council also supports the quick win measures proposed for improving Active Travel and integrated ticketing, as well as the medium and longer term recommendations for upgrading the county’s stations and bus services.

The Council welcomes the proposal for a new bus-priority direct access off the M48 to  Severn Tunnel Junction, along with an upgrade of Chepstow station and a new station at Magor.  However it would also like consideration to be given to the wider potential benefits of the proposed M48 access for the Severnside area, for example by reducing traffic levels on the B4245. It would like to see a separate but concurrent transport study carried out for this area at the same time as the assessment and outline design of the new motorway junction.

Boom in Renewable Energy Proposals

There are now three proposals for solar energy ‘parks’ on the Gwent Levels.  There is an undetermined 155ha proposal west of Newport between St Brides and Peterstone, a much smaller one by Newport City Council west of the Ebbw near Maesglas landfill site, and now a 100ha proposal at Redwick, east of Newport, just touching the Monmouthshire boundary; this is at the pre-application consultation stage – Rush Wall Solar Park – BSR Energy – respond by 8 January.

There is also an emerging proposal for a substantial solar ‘farm’ near Penpergwm, south-east of Abergavenny.  The three larger projects are Developments of National Significance to be determined by Welsh Ministers after examination by the Planning Inspectorate.

Draft New Transport Strategy for Wales

With transport currently responsible for 17 per cent of the country’s carbon emissions, the Welsh Government has committed to set new five-year priorities to tackle carbon emissions as it seeks to meet decarbonisation targets.  The draft strategy, Llwybr Newydd – New Path, sets out a range of new ambitions to reshape transport in Wales, including a new sustainable transport hierarchy that will guide investments towards greener transport options.

The strategy recognises that patterns of less commuting and more home working are likely to continue.  The administration has already outlined its long-term ambition for 30 per cent of the workforce to work from home or remotely, achieved by giving people more choice over how and where they work. The strategy accepts that more local services and more active travel can mean fewer people needing to use their cars daily.

The strategy also contains nine ‘mini-plans’ for modes and sectors: active travel; rail; bus; roads (including streets and parking); the third sector; taxis and private hire vehicles; freight and logistics; and ports, maritime transport and aviation.  Details will be delivered by a national delivery plan drawn up by Transport for Wales, supported by regional transport plans, and developed by the new-look joint transport committees.

The consultation is open until 25 January and can be found on the Welsh Government website.

A Challenge to Senedd Contenders

A group of Welsh organisations including the Future Generations Commissioner, the Centre for Alternative Technology and Extinction Rebellion concluded Climate Week with six overarching principles that each political party should be asked to endorse for next year’s Senedd election

1 – Do what it takes to do our part in limiting global heating to 1.5°C, with much deeper and faster reductions in greenhouse gas emissions (see 1, 7 & 8 below).

2 – Champion natural climate solutions to remove CO₂ from the atmosphere, halt the decline in wildlife, restore nature and help manage flood risk (see all below)

3 – Accept our entire global ecological footprint caused by all the goods we buy, the food we eat, and the supply chains we use (see 2,3 & 7 below)

4 – Help politicians to take bold decisions by holding Citizens’ Assemblies and other forms of public participation, to get to net zero faster and with fairness for all (see 1 & 7 below)

5 – Make the future well-being of young people, and the generations to come, the centre of our concern, and the focus of our plans (see all below).

6 – Support economic sectors which create green jobs in a low carbon revolution that will improve our environment, homes and communities and safeguard our health (see 1,2,3,4 & 8 below).

References: 1.Friends of the Earth Cymru Climate Action Plan for Wales https://www.foe.cymru/news/friends-earth-cymru-launch-wales-climate-action-plan 2.WWF Cymru’s Manifesto for Nature, Climate and People https://www.wwf.org.uk/wales/WWFCymruManifesto 3.Future Generations Commission Manifesto for the Future https://www.futuregenerations.wales/manifesto-for-the-future/ 4.RSPB Wales – Five Steps to a Green Recovery for Wales https://community.rspb.org.uk/getinvolved/wales/b/wales-blog/posts/the-future-is-green 5.Coed Cadw/Woodland Trust in Wales – The Roots and Branches of a Strong Green Recovery 6.Wales Environment Link – WEL Manifesto for 2021 Senedd Elections https://www.waleslink.org/Manifesto2021 7.Extinction Rebellion Cymru has referenced the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill https://www.ceebill.uk/bill 8. Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT)- Zero Carbon Britain – Rising to the Climate Emergency https://www.cat.org.uk/info-resources/zero-carbon-britain/research-reports/zero-carbon-britain-rising-to-theclimate-emergency/