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News in brief: Port of Newport owner to submit M4 relief road objection; Zoo warns hedgehogs could halt HS2

A round-up of planning news: Tuesday 3 May, 2016

Port of Newport owner to submit M4 relief road objection

The owner of the Port of Newport in Wales, Associated British Ports (ABP), is set to submit a formal objection to the compulsory purchase of land for the proposed M4 relief road route.

The ABP argues that the purchase of 87 acres of land through the centre of the port to make way for the six-lane motorway bridge would “have long-lasting, irreparable consequences for the port and, potentially, the prosperity of the region and the growth of the Welsh economy”.

Matthew Kennerley, director of Associated British Ports South Wales, said: “The route corridor will cut right through the heart of the port, effectively severing it in two, and imposing a critical height restriction on access to the North Dock which would physically exclude around 50 per cent of vessels that currently utilise this area.

“We believe that viable alternatives to the black route exist and that a solution can be found that significantly reduces the negative impact on Wales’s most strategically important general cargo port.”

More information can be found here. 

Zoo warns hedgehogs could halt HS2

London Zoo has raised awareness that that the HS2 rail scheme could lead to the extinction of the only group of wild hedgehogs living in the capital’s Royal Parks.

A London Zoo ecologist warned that the 11 hedgehogs could be killed if the site is turned into a lorry depot during the building of the new rail line, as plans indicate.

The London Zoological Society, which runs the zoo, is one of more than 820 petitioners to the House of Lords objecting to the London to Birmingham line.

Protestors aim to stop work at Ffos-y-Fran opencast mine

Campaign group Reclaim the Power will attempt to halt operations at the Ffos-y-Fran opencast mine in Merthyr Tydfil, calling for a suspension on Welsh opencast mining.

The group says the mine, the largest of its kind in the UK and with coal reserves of 11 million tonnes, has “scarred the landscape and the community in South Wales” for nearly a decade.

Miller Argent, the company that runs Ffos-y-Fran, is appealing against Caerphilly Council’s decision to reject its proposal for a new 478-hectare opencast mine at Nant Llesg near Rhymney.

More information can be found here and here.  

Cardiff city centre ‘eyesore’ to make way for transport hub

The demolition of Marland House is set to begin to make way Cardiff’s new Central Transport Interchange.

The dilapidated office and retail block next to Cardiff Central railway station will be replaced by a new city centre bus station base, which will include a bicycle hub, shops, restaurants, and connecting walkways to the railway station.

Central Square, where the Interchange will be located, will also become home to BBC Wales’s headquarters.

British public believes renewables provide tangible economic benefits – survey

Renewable energy trade association RenewableUK is calling attention to new government statistics that show 70 per cent of the British public believe renewable energy provides significant economic benefits.

The group highlights that the latest Public Attitudes Tracking Survey, published by the Department of Energy and Climate Change, also shows that 56 per cent of respondents would be happy to have a large-scale clean energy project built in their area.

The full report can be found here.

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