Monday, 27 February 2017

Dwr Cymru Welsh Water Destroy A Meadow

Used to be a wildflower meadow

It was a meadow before, it's a meadow no more ... and we'd only just posted about loss of green spaces bit-by-bit.

Some Aberystwyth residents were surprised recently when one of the local meadows was dug up and laid with road surface instead. This was a wildflower meadow, part of a vital wildlife corridor, and also a route used by runners, walkers and dog walkers around the Dwr Cymru Welsh Water sewage works, that took you through fields and woods. Now it is all blocked off and built over.

A map of the meadow area as it used to be - part of
a loop around the sewage works.
It also impacts the pond area.

Friday, 24 February 2017

Protecting Green Spaces At Every Scale

Ysgol Penweddig

We've written about how, over time, more and more paths are laid, slicing up green areas. "Death by a thousand cuts". It happens at every scale. The photo above was taken recently at Ysgol Penweddig, Aberystwyth. At one point that was one large piece of grass. Then a path was laid across it "for convenience" because some people kept cutting across the grass in order to save a second or two. Then the footpath was widened. Then, as more people cut across the grass from the new path, further paths were laid (some fairly recently). A green area gets sliced up into smaller and smaller wedges. No-one takes an overview of it, no-one steps in to protect the green spaces - perhaps planting bushes, trees and flowerbeds across the areas people were cutting across, to protect them from being trampled. It's always just "one more path". And it is the same with roads and housing estates, up to the scale of things like the proposed M4 extension that would destroy huge areas of important wildlife green spaces, without even fixing the underlying problem - too many people, too many cars, and an assumption that the earth is ours to do with as we wish. In another thirty years there will be so much traffic the bypasses will need bypasses, the roads will need widening, and the same process that has been going on at an accelerating rate for hundreds of years will continue.

Most people – and most politicians too – don’t see or care about the big picture.

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Welsh Government Consultation On Forestry And Woodland Policy In Wales

The Welsh Government is running a consultation on Forestry And Woodland Policy In Wales. Details here; you have until 7 April 2017 to respond. Here are a few points we made.

Responding to climate change – coping with climate change and helping reduce our carbon footprint

Prevent all building on greenfield sites. Protect current green spaces, whether agricultural or not, from development and housing; new housing should only be on existing and brownfield sites.

Cease all new road-building. Discourage car use; create a nationalised, fast, cheap, reliable, regular and connected public transport system that is better than using cars.

Make sure very new development in Wales, of any kind, must include wildlife areas – trees, bushes, flowers and so on, planted in the earth (not sterile pots, which are just ornamental). They need to be connected up to provide wildlife corridors.

Implement a policy to create X amount of new woodland in Wales every year.

Friday, 10 February 2017

Save The Gwent Levels From The M4 Bypass

Contact your Assembly Member about this!
More information here, and on the Save The Levels site (they also have a Twitter account).

Recent news coverage:
The Guardian: Thought the Newbury bypass devastated wildlife? These M4 plans are far worse
BBC: M4 relief road - Common cranes nesting on proposed site 
Also, a damning report on road-building culture.

Help to save Magor Marsh Nature Reserve and the Gwent Levels from the proposed M4 bypass, for the sake of the environment and for the wildlife. The proposed 'black route' M4 relief road around Newport, Gwent in South Wales will damage 2 nature reserves, 5 of Wales’ most precious nature sites (SSSIs), the Wales Coastal Path and the Celtic Trail, part of National Cycle Route 4. Pollution from construction and traffic will enter the ancient reen (ditch) systems that are home to, among other wildlife, rare birds, water beetles, aquatic plants, otters and water vole. And it will cut a dangerous divide across the Gwent Levels, right through their habitats. The new elevated bridge over the River Usk will be noisy and disruptive for people in South and Central Newport and experts believe the new road will not solve any traffic problems. It will cost the public over £1 billion, probably more than £2bn. But with the support of AMs it can be stopped.

And none of that will do anything about the longer-term problem of unsustainable road-building and increasing car use. Until our society does something about over-dependence on cars, there will be no end to this problem.