Wildlife Trusts welcome decision on Gwent Levels motorway

By agency reporter
June 5, 2019

The Welsh Government has rejected plans to build an M4 relief road across the Gwent Levels. Ian Rappel, CEO of Gwent Wildlife Trust said: “We are delighted to hear the news that the Welsh Government has scrapped plans for the UK’s most ecologically damaging motorway scheme and congratulate First Minister Mark Drakeford on his decision.

“The Gwent Levels is Wales’ equivalent of the Amazon rainforest for sheer diversity of wildlife and it is vitally important that its endangered species like water voles, cranes and rare beetles are protected, and that people maintain their connection with – and access to – this fantastic wild haven.

“The decision comes after the Welsh Government declared a Climate Emergency, an announcement they are following up with bold action. I hope that this decision becomes the catalyst for real change throughout Wales and beyond, to show that there are genuine alternatives to the destructive business-as-usual approach.”

Stephanie Hilborne, CEO of The Wildlife Trusts said: “This is a historic decision and one that should be repeated by all governments still promoting destructive road schemes, not least Westminster. Mark Drakeford has just shown what environmental leadership looks like.  Wales led the way with its Future Generations Act and now there is evidence that this is not just paper, but reality.

"In the past we’ve sometimes succeeded in campaigning against damaging schemes but often a government will cite cost as the barrier.  Here the First Minister has openly stated that he puts more value on the remarkable wildlife and historic landscape of the Gwent Levels than the Inspector did. Gwent Wildlife Trust and all who campaigned against this scheme are real heroes.  We now look forward to Wales leading on innovative and sustainable low carbon alternatives to the M4, to show what is possible when development and nature’s recovery are considered side-by-side.”

Gwent Wildlife Trust has campaigned against the M4 proposal over the last two decades – with 30,000 people adding their voices in recent months. (http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/node/27012)

The Wildlife Trusts hope that the Welsh Government continue to lead the way and set an example to other nations, saying, "It is vital that we build on this decision and that these plans are set in law through an ambitious Sustainable Land Management Act."

* The Wildlife Trusts https://www.wildlifetrusts.org/

[Ekk/6]

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