Saturday, 4 March 2017

TV presenter Iolo Williams speaks out against the Plasdwr housing plan

Plasdwr threatens the Great Crested Newt and other wildlife

Popular TV presenter and naturalist Iolo Williams has spoken out against the Plasdwr housing development proposal that threatens to destroy countryside in the green belt area of Cardiff northwest. Plasdwr is being promoted as “Cardiff’s garden city” but Williams calls the plan “sheer madness.”

He points out that already endangered wildlife species, including the great crested newt (Triturus cristatus), the barn owl (Tyto alba) and the lesser horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus hipposideros) all have populations that depend on habitats that exist on land scheduled for use, if the building of 6,000 new houses goes ahead.

Great Crested Newt (Photo: Public Domain)

The plan of Redrow Homes is to build all over countryside bordering on St Fagans, Fairwater (Pentrebane), Danescourt and Radyr, all on the outskirts of the north-west of Cardiff. There are large ponds in the fields and farmland affected by the housing development proposals, ponds, such as the Pentrebane Cottage Ponds, that are known to be used by the great crested newt, an amphibian that has been declining fast in the UK and is protected by law.

Barn Owl (Photo: Public Domain/Pixabay)

The barn owl is another British species of wildlife that has been dropping in numbers throughout the UK and is the subject of conservation schemes set up to protect this beautiful nocturnal bird of prey. Williams has pointed out that this magnificent bird is found in the area threatened by the development of the land.

The lesser horseshoe bat is one of the smallest mammals in the world. It roosts in colonies and in the UK, Wales is one the parts it is found. This bat is absent from Scotland. Threats to its survival include disturbance and destruction of roosting locations and the loss of suitable habitats in which it can forage for its prey, which are small insects and spiders. This bat flies low over the ground and will grab small creatures it can eat off of rocks and bushes.

Lesser Horseshoe Bat (Photo: Falcoperegrinus/Matthieu Gauvain)

Cardiff Council and the Local Development Plan (LDP)

Cardiff Council are favouring developers over the wishes of residents of the city when it comes to its LDP.  A report by Ruth Mosalski for WalesOnline points out that Cardiff’s Civic Society has claimed that Cardiff Council “ignores the public.” Many residents of the city are worried about these development plans and have voiced their concerns. It is not only because of the threatened destruction of the countryside and the wildlife it is a home to that is causing worries, but also because of the very real problem of traffic. Roads into and out of the west of Cardiff are already experiencing traffic chaos and adding another 6,000 houses and a potential 10,000 more cars can only acerbate the problem turning it into an absolute nightmare. Cardiff simply does not have the roads in place to cope with the increased traffic.

Increased traffic causes increased air pollution too. At present, the growth of lichen and mosses on tree trunks and walls throughout the city shows that the air quality has improved, but a dramatic increase in the number of vehicles using Cardiff’s overburdened roads will halt and reverse this, as well as being a known cause of ill-health for people.

There is a solution

There is no denying that people need somewhere to live and that more housing should be built. However, none of the problems the Plasdwr development will create have to exist because a viable solution already exists. As Williams points out in the video, there are brownfield sites in Cardiff where houses can be built instead. Also there are empty buildings that could be used to provide housing. He asks concerned residents to get in touch with their AMs and local MPs and to put in their complaints.

Councillor for Radyr & Morganstown Community Council and Plaid Cymru candidate for Radyr and Morganstown, Michael Deem, is campaigning against the destruction of the green belt, and so is Neil McEvoy, who is Assembly Member For South Wales Central at Y Senedd and County Councillor for Fairwater.

Contact: Twitter: @MichaelDeemPC  

Say NO to Plasdwr, Save Our Green Fields!
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