Circuit of Wales racetrack abandoned: common land saved

29 June 2017

We are relieved that, following the refusal of £210 million in backing from the Welsh Government, the Circuit of Wales motor-race track will apparently not now be built on a square mile of common land on the edge of the Brecon Beacons National Park.

The Open Spaces Society, with the Brecon Beacons Park Society, British Horse Society, Gwent Wildlife Trust and other objectors, appeared at the public inquiry in March 2015 to argue that the track should not be built on the extensive Trefil Las and Twyn Bryn-March Common near Ebbw Vale in Blaenau Gwent.

They also objected to the proposal from the Heads of the Valleys Development Company to swap this common for seven inferior and scattered areas of land.*

However, consent for the development and the exchange of common land was granted in November 2015 by the then Deputy Minister for Farming and Food, Rebecca Evans.

We were appalled that the Minister considered it acceptable to sacrifice a square mile of open hillside, where people have rights to walk and ride, on the edge of a national park.

The threatened common

We were also dismayed by the offer in exchange of seven much smaller areas, scattered some distance away, where either there was already public access or the land was physically inaccessible.

However, we are pleased that, due to lack of funding, the mega development is highly unlikely to go ahead and that the common will not be destroyed.

*The seven parcels include part of Wentwood Forest (which is leased by Natural Resources Wales and is already accessible to the public) and six sites offered by Blaenau Gwent Council: Bryn Farm, Garden City woodlands, Waun-y-Pound, Greenmeadow Farm, Sirhowy Woodlands and Crown Avenue.