Butterfly Conservation Wales recently submitted an objection to the outline planning application for a super-prison on the Wrexham Industrial Estate.
This large area of Brownfield land, like many areas on the Industrial Estate, is of high environmental value. The mosaic of bare ground, grassland and scrub is a crucial resource particularly for insects, that is not found in the surrounding agricultural landscape or to such an extent on other currently undeveloped areas on the Estate. The development would see 60% of the site built on with the remaining land put aside to mitigate for the detrimental ecological impact.
The Wrexham Industrial Estate is a key landscape for the rare Grizzled Skipper butterfly in North Wales and is one of around only five key areas for the species left in Wales.
Butterfly Conservation accepts that development must occur on the industrial estate but that the negative environmental impacts on biodiversity should be properly mitigated for properly and where it is not possible to do this, compensation required. We firmly believe that species such as the Grizzled Skipper can successfully be part of an industrial landscape and not act as an impediment to development. However, the mitigation plan that has been put forward is woefully inadequate and could lead to this loss of rare species such as the Grizzled Skipper from North Wales, rather than helping to safeguard their populations. Butterfly Conservation and a number of other environmental organisations have had talks with Wrexham County Council prior to consent being granted, and hopefully our concerns have been taken on board, as the consent was granted with modifications required to the ecological mitigation elements.
Wrexham Industrial Estate offers an important opportunity to showcase how ecology can be enhanced alongside development and we sincerely hope that this publicly funded development will make the most of this opportunity and not ride rough shod over the best practice guidance that Butterfly Conservation Wales and others have previously developed for the Estate, in collaboration with Wrexham County Council, to enable economic development to be promoted and the ecology and landscape of the estate and the wider area protected.
Head of Conservation with Butterfly Conservation Wales