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Re-wilding Mid Wales re-booted

Created on 19/06/2020 @ 11:19
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By Elgan Hearn, Local Democracy Reporter

A plan to re-wild swathes of Mid Wales that got off to a shambolic start appears to be back on track.

The £3.4 million Summit to the Sea project was originally run by Sussex based Rewilding Britain, but following widespread criticism, they stepped down last October to allow RSPB Cymru to officially take it over this week.

It aims to create a future where people and wildlife in the Cambrian Mountains and along Cardigan Bay, areas popular with people from the Welshpool area, thrive together and it is hoped that a wide range of landowners and resource users, will work together exploring how a local nature friendly economy can support this.

RSPB Cymru, head of land, Neil Lambert said: “During these incredibly challenging times, we are delighted that the Summit to Sea project is entering a new planning phase which will allow communities to be fully involved in co-designing a new project. We’ll be working closely with both land and sea stakeholders.

“It is essential that any project delivers for local people as well as wildlife.”

Opposition to Rewilding Britain saw the the establishment of a community campaign group called COPA which is chaired by Powys County Councillor for Glantwymyn, Elwyn Vaughan.

He had been highly critical of Rewilding Britain’s approach, and dubbed it “cultural imperialism”.

Cllr Elwyn Vaughan, said; “We are very happy that the concerns expressed over the past 18 month have been listened to.

“With the departure of Rewilding Britain along with the complete restructuring of the project, we are now looking to create a future built on fresh foundations that reflect the community and landscape of this area.

“We really look forward to seeing what develops and its contribution towards ensuring the existence of sustainable communities in the area.”

Rory Francis of the Woodland Trust added: “We are determined to learn lessons from the past and ensure that we can make the most of this opportunity for the future.”

Since October, the partnership has been learning from community feedback and exploring new ways of working to continue to develop best practices to ensure this project has a sustainable and positive impact for nature and people. In January, drop in sessions to discuss how to get the project back on track were held.

At a meeting in October 2019, Powys County Councillors voted to stop supporting the project while Rewilding Britain were in charge.

There are currently seven partners involved including Woodland Trust, WWF, RSPB Cymru, Whale and Dolphin Conservation, Marine Conservation Society, Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust and Pen Llyn a’r Sarnau Special Area of Conservation.

These organisations all provide insight into the environmental issues facing Mid Wales.

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