Monday, 15 July 2013

Welsh Connections

The Trust has been rather quiet in Wales recently.  I regret this separation as I believe there are plenty of opportunities for the HT message to be beneficially applied in Wales, but as a result of two recent visits, I hope that this situation is about to change.

There has been a big upheaval in Wales with the establishment of a combined government agency called Natural Resources Wales (NRW) that has been formed from the Countryside Commission for Wales (CCW), and the Forestry Commission and the Environment Agency in Wales.  This new organisation will no doubt take time to bed down but it provides an opportunity to reconsider the support for the Welsh uplands.  I hope that this will prove to be a turning point for an integrated approach to moorland management in Wales.

In response to the formation of NRW, the Country Land & Business Association (CLA) in Wales called together a group of landowners to consider how an approach to the Welsh Government could best be made to highlight the importance and value of the Welsh uplands.  I was pleased to attend this meeting, and I have offered support for any work that develops from it.

I have been maintaining a watching brief as a member of Upland Ecosystems Group (UEG) in Wales, but it has been hard to justify attending meetings as there has been no opportunities to develop any involvement.  However, I was able to attend a meeting of the UEG, last week, and this was combined with a workshop for a new project being run by the RSPB called North Wales Moors Futurescapes; this seeks to consider landscape scale conservation management across a large area of the uplands that include Ruabon Moor, the Berwyn Mountains, and moorland at  Migneint and Hiraethog.  I have suggested that some 'old fashioned' demonstration events that I champion for the Trust could be beneficial to being people together to discuss the issues.

I hope that these initiatives will serve to re-establish the Trust's presence in Wales and allow us to provide some  input that will help to improve the management of the Welsh uplands.