Climate warning
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Lesley Griffiths

Climate warning

Minister blocks solar farms on Gwent Levels

Rural Affairs Minister Lesley Griffiths blocked the schemes on the Gwent Levels on biodiversity grounds, despite planning inspectors recommending they get the go-ahead. One developer warned it cast doubt on the prospect of creating new energy projects in Wales. The Welsh government said it could not comment on the High Court challenges.The move was praised by others who said tackling climate change could not be at the expense of wildlife. The low-lying coastal landscape, which stretches from the east of Cardiff into Newport and Monmouthshire, is made up of saltmarshes and fields marked by drainage ditches, known in the area as reens. It is home to a wide variety of protected species, including the great crested newt, water vole, bats, otters and grass snakes. Because of the nature of the landscape, conservation groups have called for the Welsh government to have a moratorium on major developments there. One major solar farm already exists, near Llanwern. Solar plan will harm Wales' Amazon, say protesters One in four bird species in serious trouble - RSPB Pylons run across the levels' landscape and the sites for both schemes were picked in part because they could be connected to the National Grid, a problem that has proved a stumbling block to other energy projects. The largest of the two proposed schemes, between Marshfield and St Brides in Newport, would have seen a 122-hectare solar farm with capacity to generate 125MW, enough for 37,500 homes. A similar, larger scheme was previously refused by the minister. An inspection report said the environmental benefits outweighed the impact of the carbon footprint of manufacturing the panels, but the entire site was located within a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

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27 more agrees trigger contact with the recipient

  • George Kariuki

    43 w

    We really need to foster dialogue to clear out such conflicts.

    • Joseph Githinji

      43 w

      In as much as we mind the wildlife, we must not be blinded to do away with solar systems. The authorities must sought to get other stations to make this work. The ultimate goal must be protected without fail.

      • Lucinda Ramsay

        43 w

        I think we need to be very mindful of impacts of decisions: whether to protect or for renewables. We can't be knee jerk reactive in our problem solving. There are plenty of alternative places for solar, rooftops across towns, factories and fam buildings, old disused industrial estates and car parks.. I'm sure there are plenty of alternative sites.. so much farmland is given over for grazing sheep and dairy/beef which we don't need vast quantities of...

        • Richard S

          43 w


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