Letter to Lesley Griffiths

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This morning, we sent a letter to Lesley Griffiths MS, the Minister for the Environment, Energy, and Rural Affairs, highlighting the environmental impact of building on the meadows. We have emailed her 6 times in the past, but we are yet to have a single response.So we thought it was about time to throw the metaphorical book at her and her Government. Feel free to use the arguments we used here to write your own letter to her (Correspondence.Lesley.Griffiths@gov.wales), or we will soon have a letter template for you to use.Building on the meadows will be an environmental disaster, and we refuse to let that happen. #SaveTheNorthernMeadows#KeepItGreen#Rethink

Write to Lesley Griffiths MS, Minister for the Environment, Energy, and Rural Affairs to support Save the Northern Meadows – copy and paste the letter below, add your name and your comments, and send as a New Year’s present for the minister! 

Send to: Correspondence.lesley.griffiths@gov.wales

And CC: Correspondence.Julie.Morgan@gov.wales, correspondence.vaughan.gething@gov.wales, Correspondence.Mark.Drakeford@gov.wales and your MS (if different from Julie Morgan).

COPY AND PASTE THIS MESSAGE, and add your own comments at the bottom ↴

(Email subject: Act Now to Prevent Environmental Disaster in Cardiff) 

Dear Ms.Griffiths MS, 

I am acutely aware of the relentless demands of COVID-19 on both you and your department and greatly appreciate all you do. So I wouldn’t write to you at this time if the matter was not urgent. 

I am writing today in support of the Save the Northern Meadows campaign, who have contacted you over six times. I ask you to act to Save the Northern Meadows, 14 hectares of green space to the north of Whitchurch Hospital and directly adjacent on two sides to the Glamorganshire Canal and Forest Farm local nature reserve (LNR). The meadows themselves are a Site of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINC) and an area of the Canal is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). Building here would cause an environmental disaster for biodiversity in Cardiff. Building works are due to start in late January. 

Therefore it is imperative you act now. 

Time and options remain which could stop this disaster if you step in. The Nuffield Trust, commissioned by Velindre following advice from the Chief Medical Officer, advised the footprint of the new Velindre Cancer Centre (nVCC) should be radically changed. Velindre purchased ‘the Grange’ site in the mid 2010s intending to build the cancer centre there, yet ultimately stated this site was too small and chose to relocate to the meadow land offered by Cardiff and Vale University Health Board. Given that the healthcare model and its associated infrastructure must now be revised, work should not be permitted to begin on the meadows. The adjacent Grange Brownfield site should be reconsidered for the new centre so that the meadows are protected for present and future generations.

Save the Northern Meadows are calling for Transforming Cancer Services (TCS), the Welsh Government, and Cardiff Council to work with the community to identify a solution which uses the adjoining Whitchurch Hospital site and ‘the Grange’, but leaves the meadows unharmed and protected from any development

  1. Working together could ensure the meadows are protected for future generations, allowing a self seeding urban forest to develop further;
  2. The proposed solution enables TCS, Velindre, and the Welsh Government live up to the requirements to ‘maintain and enhance’ ecosystems, which they are not doing at present; 
  3. Such a solution would ensure the local community – where many live in flats and have no means to access the countryside – have access to nature, and space to roam during these lockdowns and in the future.

If you do not act, there will be significant, permanent harm to the meadows. The work will result in: 

  1. Increased risk of flooding:
  2. Dangerous levels of air pollution:
  3. Harm to protected species:
  4. Felling of hundreds of trees:
  5. Housing resulting from the use of the meadows: 
  6. Significance of Carbon Capture 
  7. The loss of a significant community amenity: 

These are highlighted further in the letter to you sent by Save the Northern Meadows on the 19th of January 2021. I do not need to remind you of the ample national and international legislation which requires you to protect and enhance biodiversity, presented in more detail in the letter sent by Save the Northern Meadows, including: 

  1. The Convention on Biological Diversity, 1992.
  1. The Rio Declaration, 1992.
  1. Well-Being of Future Generations (Wales) Act, 2015. 
  1. The Environment (Wales) Act, 2016. 

You will note the requirement of the Convention on Biological Diversity article 8(e), with the obligation to ‘Promote environmentally sound and sustainable development in areas adjacent to protected areas with a view to furthering protection of these areas’. This reflects your numerous obligations under the Nature Recovery Action Plan. The ‘Nature Recovery Action Plan 2020-21’ also identifies: 

  1. The requirement of ‘urgent short-term actions’ (section 6) including:
    1. Aligning the responses to the climate emergency and the biodiversity crisis;
    2. Providing spatial direction for action for biodiversity. Resilient ecological networks are needed everywhere to create mosaics across Wales, but further identification of ‘core resilience areas’ is needed in which to prioritise action; 
    3. Improving the condition of the Protected Sites Networks.

Protecting the meadows will help directly implement the short term responses identified by the Nature Recovery Action Plan.  Moreover, given the Welsh Government voted to declare a Climate Emergency, now really is the time to act swiftly to ensure coherence between your actions and existing environmental commitments.

We are asking Government Ministers to: 

  1. Act urgently to prevent any enabling works (costing Velindre-estimated £26.9m)  from going ahead on Northern Meadows and saving the biodiverse space of County importance currently at risk; 
  2. Promise no further funding to this project and forbid further expenditure;
  3. Call in applications 20/01110/MJR and 20/00357/MJR, giving the community a stake in the development of Whitchurch Hospital;
  4. Work cooperatively with clinicians to identify the best option for cancer care for the people of South East Wales.
  5. Work cooperatively with us and and all local stakeholder groups and elected members to design a solution to the Northern Meadows and Whitchurch Hospital Site which maintains and enhances biodiversity and secures long term solutions for cancer treatment in Wales. 

We also call for long term commitments from this Government to ensure communities are never put under such significant pressure and manipulation by a public body again: 

  1. Investigate where so much went wrong so as to prevent such a disastrous waste of public money for an NHS project ever happening again;
  2. Save the Northern Meadows and railway cutting, by designating the area a Local Nature Reserve and forbidding any construction here in future. 


We are looking forward to your swift response. 

Kind regards, 


Your Address

In support of Save the Northern Meadows