Peaky Blinders Actor Aimee-Ffion Edwards Lends Her Talent To New Film Highlighting M4’s Threat To Wildlife

Peaky Blinders actor and Wildlife Trust advocate Aimee-Ffion Edwards has voiced a much-loved poem by W.H. Davies for a new film highlighting the potential impact of the M4’s development on regional wildlife.

Aimee-Ffion Edwards

Peaky Blinders star Aimee-Ffion Edwards has pledged her support for a campaign launched by the Wildlife Trust to save the wetlands of the Gewnt Levels from destruction as a result of the construction of the M4 extension around Newport.

Edwards has voiced the poem, Leisure by W.H Davies, for a film warning about the impact on wildlife of the proposed motorway extension. Edwards’ narration is played over footage showing the beauty and local wildlife around the Gwent Levels.

With just weeks until Assembly Members take a vote on the scheme, Edwards, who also appears in The Detectorists, decided to join the Gwent Wildlife Trust to appeal to decision-makers to take time to consider the beauty of the region and its value to the people of Wales. In the three-minute film, which you can see on You Tube here, Edwards’ poetry reading contains such affectionate lines as, “What is this life if, full of care, we have no time to stand and stare”.

The actor was a regular visitor to the area as a child so has wonderful memories of the local wildife and the natural beauty of the landscape. She said, “W.H Davies’ words are so apt at this time. Coming from Pill, Newport, I’m sure he would have spent time enjoying the very landscape that is now under threat and this would have inspired his poetry.

“The Gwent Levels is such a special and enchanting place, full of wildlife, history and culture. Building a new M4 motorway through it will not solve anything. It would simply destroy something we should all be proud of and cherish, not just for its wildlife but for the people and the city of Newport and the rest of Wales.

“I urge people to join the fight to save the Gwent Levels while they still have the chance and hope that decision-makers honour their commitment to protect Wales’ natural environment for future generations.”

The footage, which was captured by trustee and volunteer Rob Waller and filmmaker Neil Aldridge, features some very rare wildlife including otters, water voles and cranes.

Gwent Wildlife Trust’s chief executive, Ian Rappel said: “This is a decision to be made with the heart as well as the mind. The rational arguments against the M4 extension were made very loud and clear at the Public Inquiry. Alternative, sustainable transport solutions have been proposed by the Welsh Government’s own Future Generations Commissioner for Wales – Sophie Howe, in the Transport Fit for Future Generations Report.

“This film has been made to encourage deep and serious consideration, from the heart, about what the scheme will do to people who live near or visit this stunning and increasingly fragile area. With the Gwent Levels seeing, really is believing. We want as many people as possible to see the film and what would be lost with the creation of a new M4 motorway.”

Rappel said he hoped to protect the Gwent Levels now and for future generations. “For this to happen everyone must take action by telling Carwyn Jones, The Welsh Government and Assembly Members to scrap plans for a new M4 through the Gwent Levels before it is too late.”

The motorway plan involves building a 14-mile six-lane extension to the M4 through an area that includes the Gwent Wildlife Trust’s Magor Marsh Nature Reserve. People can get involved with the #SaveTheGwentLevels e-campaign and send an email of objection to First Minister Carwyn Jones via the Wildlife Trust’s website.

Amilia Totten
About the Author
Amilia Totten is a freelance writer, photographer and erstwhile time-waster. Her eclectic film favourites include the latest Hollywood blockbuster to European avant-garde and the joys of Bollywood.

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