As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Monday, 30 March 2015

RSPB shock at M4 relief road decision

Birdwatch news team
Posted on: 30 Mar 2015

A judicial review has concluded that Friends of the Earth Cymru does not have sufficient evidence to mount a full challenge against the Welsh government regarding the construction of a relief road around Newport, RSPB Cymru has announced. The charity has said that it is “shocked and disappointed” at the decision, which was revealed on 26 March.

The so-called Black Route, an M4 relief road to ease congestion around Newport, will run through part of the Gwent Levels. Much of the levels are designated Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) and are home to a variety of rare and declining animal and plant species, including Northern Lapwing.

The review considered whether FoE Cymru could mount a challenge based on three grounds for concern:• The Welsh government failed in its duties in relation to the conservation and enhancement of the SSSIs and didn’t acknowledge the harm the plan will do to those protected sites.
• The government didn’t identify, describe and evaluate reasonable alternatives.
• The government didn’t consider an increase in carbon emissions if the new road is built in the context of its own climate change policies and emission targets.

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