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Circuit of Wales

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Circuit of Wales
LocationEbbw Vale, Blaenau Gwent, Wales
Time zoneGMT
Coordinates51°48′17″N 3°14′35″W / 51.80473°N 3.24319°W / 51.80473; -3.24319
Full Course
Length3.50 mi (5.63 km)

Circuit of Wales (Welsh: Cylchffordd Cymru) is a proposed motor racing circuit and technology park development project in Blaenau Gwent on the outskirts of Ebbw Vale, Wales, adjacent to the Neath to Abergavenny Trunk Road (A465).[1] The intention is that it would be funded by private investors and backed by the Welsh Government. In April 2016, BBC News reported that The Heads of the Valleys Development Company,[2] would continue to negotiate with both the financial backers, Aviva, and the Welsh Government.[3]

The circuit is being designed to FIA and FIM standards with the aim of hosting events such as the MotoGP, Superbike World Championship, Motocross World Championship, British GT Championship, British Touring Car Championship and the World Touring Car Championship.[4][5]

Ken Skates, AM and Economy Secretary, issued a statement on 29 March 2017 that detailed reports had been requested and the decision concerning £425M public funding would be available by mid-May.[6] In June 2017, a proposed taxpayer-funded guarantee of £210million was rejected by the Welsh Government on the grounds that the financial risk was too great. The original planned opening had been 2016. In September 2018, an application to renew the expired planning consent was submitted to Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council.[7]

Proposal history

The project was unveiled towards the end of 2011.[8] After submitting plans to Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council,[9] the circuit received unanimous approval[1] of its outline planning and was given the go ahead to begin development in early July 2013, amidst opposition from groups including Gwent Wildlife Trust, Brecon Beacons National Park, Natural Resources Wales and the Association of Motor Racing Circuit Owners.[10] However, by the end of July, the Welsh Government put the plans on hold whilst it reviewed the planning application.[11][12] The Welsh Government indicated in August 2013 that the local council would take decisions concerning the project.[13][14] In 2014, the developers asked the Welsh and UK governments to commit up to £50m towards the scheme.[15] While the developers believe that 6,000 jobs could be created, there are wider objections on environmental grounds.[16]

In July 2014, Alun Davies, Blaenau Gwent AM was found to have broken the Ministerial Code through lobbying Natural Resources Wales in favour of the racetrack. He was sacked the following week.[17][18][19]

In November 2014, controversy surfaced after allegations that the Welsh Government had interfered with due process on planning, particularly through gaining privileged information from the Planning Inspectorate.[20] On 17 November 2015, it was reported that the Welsh government had given final approval to deregister the common land on which the circuit is to be built. Congestion at peak times on the Neath to Abergavenny Trunk Road would need to be resolved.[21][22]

In April 2016, departing Welsh Economy Minister Edwina Hart confirmed that the Welsh Government could not provide the required 100% guarantee to back construction of the circuit. Insurance company Aviva had stated that it could not guarantee even 20% of the £357M package, and hence the Welsh Government had been forced to state its position.[3] Hart said there was a "significant question around the viability of the project" and hence was an "unacceptable risk" to the government underwriting the entire project, and therefore she had "reluctantly come to the conclusion" not to proceed with the guarantee after legal advice. Michael Carrick, CEO of Heads of The Valleys Development Company, said negotiations with the Welsh Government and Aviva would continue.[3]

In June 2017 a proposed taxpayer-funded guarantee of £210million was rejected by the Welsh Government on the grounds that the financial risk was too great. Instead, ministers announced that £100million would be spent on an automotive business park.[23] Michael Carrick responded by saying that they were keen to continue with the project, understand the reasons it was not supported, and address them.[24] An application to renew the expired planning consent was submitted to Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council in September 2018.[7]

See also


  1. ^ a b Liam Moffett (2013-07-10). "Councillors grant planning approval to £280m Circuit of Wales racetrack". Wales Online. Retrieved 2014-02-06.
  2. ^ Companies House (UK Government website) Retrieved 26 August 2017
  3. ^ a b c Minister 'cannot underwrite £357m Circuit of Wales track' BBC News Wales, 6 April 2016, Retrieved 8 April 2016
  4. ^ "Circuit of Wales gets go ahead". Top Gear. 2013-07-10. Retrieved 2014-02-06.
  5. ^ "Welcome to the Circuit of Wales". Circuit of Wales. 2013-12-05. Retrieved 2014-02-06.
  6. ^ Circuit of Wales: Motor track decision expected mid-May, BBC News, Wales Politics on 29 March 2017. Retrieved 30 March 2017
  7. ^ a b "Door left open for development on Ebbw Vale Circuit of Wales site". South Wales Argus. 9 October 2019. Retrieved 7 July 2020.
  8. ^ Nick Servini (2011-11-21). "Ebbw Vale £200m racing circuit 'could host MotoGP'". BBC News. Retrieved 2014-02-06.
  9. ^ "Planning documents". Circuit of Wales. Archived from the original on 2014-02-21. Retrieved 2014-02-06.
  10. ^ "Circuit of Wales race track given go ahead at Ebbw Vale". BBC News. 2013-07-10. Retrieved 2014-02-06.
  11. ^ "£280m Circuit of Wales plan put on hold by Welsh government". BBC News. 2013-07-31. Retrieved 2014-02-06.
  12. ^ "Circuit of Wales 'put on hold' | MotoGP News | Jul 2013". Crash.Net. 2013-07-31. Retrieved 2014-02-06.
  13. ^ "Circuit of Wales, Ebbw Vale, in planning decision boost". BBC News. 2013-08-23. Retrieved 2014-02-06.
  14. ^ "Circuit of Wales, Ebbw Vale: Work to start on £280m race circuit". BBC News. 2013-09-30. Retrieved 2014-02-06.
  15. ^ "£280m Circuit of Wales race track makes cash request". BBC. 11 March 2014. Retrieved 18 November 2015.
  16. ^ "Circuit of Wales motorsports complex plan drives local controversy". The Guardian. 25 May 2014. Retrieved 2014-07-01.
  17. ^ Alun Davies breached code by lobbying BBC News 1 July 2014. Retrieved 2014-12-12
  18. ^ 'on edge of a cliff' BBC News 9 July 2014. Retrieved 2014-12-12
  19. ^ Alun Davies sacking; emails that raised concerns 8 July 2014. Retrieved 2014-12-12
  20. ^ Circuit of Wales planning process 'interfered with' by ministers, says Friends of Earth Cymru and Plaid 26 November 2014. Retrieved 2014-12-11
  21. ^ "£325m Circuit of Wales plans in Ebbw Vale pass 'vital' hurdle". BBC. 17 November 2015. Retrieved 18 November 2015.
  22. ^ "Final approval given for £315m Circuit of Wales project in Blaenau Gwent". Wales Online. Retrieved 17 November 2015.
  23. ^ "Circuit of Wales cash plea refused by Welsh ministers". BBC News. 27 June 2017. Retrieved 27 June 2017.
  24. ^ "Circuit of Wales: Plea not to give up on race track plan". BBC News. 3 July 2017. Retrieved 3 July 2017.

External links

This page was last edited on 7 July 2020, at 11:46
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