It's go, go, go for £280m motor racing track as planners shrug off environmental concerns

Opposition included the Brecon Beacons National Park and environmental watchdog Natural Resources Wales

Planners in South Wales have shrugged off environmental concerns to give the go-ahead to a £280m racetrack.

Blaenau Gwent Council granted planning permission to the Circuit of Wales project, which is aiming to host major motor racing events such as MotoGP.

Opposition to the plans for the 830-acre site have included the Brecon Beacons National Park and environmental watchdog Natural Resources Wales. The latter had warned the project would have "unacceptable environmental impacts".

However planners gave their unanimous backing to the plans after an hour of debate.

The group behind the track, the Heads of the Valleys Development Company (HDVC), said it would give a big economic boost to the region and the country.

"It is a hugely important development, not just for the regeneration of Blaenau Gwent but also for the UK economy," said HDVC chief executive Michael Carrick.

HDVC claims between 4,000 to 6,000 jobs will be created once the development is complete and 3,000 jobs will be created during construction.

Funding has included a £2m loan from the Welsh government, while the developers also hope to raise more public money as well as attract private investment.

Carmelo Ezpeleta, the chief executive of Dorna, the MotoGP rights holder, has backed the track, saying it "is a very important programme for MotoGP and for motor sport in general".

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