Resilient Greater Gwent

The Resilient Greater Gwent project has been funded by Welsh Governments Enabling of Natural Resources and Well-being Grant. The programme runs until summer 2022, and demonstrates a landscape wide approach and connectivity across South East Wales; to create and enhance resilient ecological networks, providing sustainably managed natural resources and principles for communities to value their landscapes and wildlife.


The overall project is based around several work streams:

Resilient Ecological Networks

The vision is for a Gwent that has thriving ecosystems, resilient to the impacts of climate change such as severe weather events and adaptable to changing conditions, supporting robust populations of Wales’ diverse wildlife and plant life. Ecosystems are providing services used sustainably and valued by communities in the region.

To enhance the resilience of our ecosystems a report titled ‘The Greater Gwent State of Nature’ was produced which looked at the data surrounding 100 species and species groups across Gwent. Following the report, the Greater Gwent Nature Recovery Action Plan has been produced as a strategic guide towards nature recovery at a regional scale across Gwent. This document will also support the production of three local nature recovery action plans covering the three Local Nature partnerships found within Gwent: Blaenau Gwent & Torfaen; Caerphilly; Monmouthshire & Newport.

A series of projects for nature recovery have taken place across Gwent as part of this workstream. Following a freshwater theme, ponds were restored, scrapes created and homes for animals such as dippers, wagtails and otters were installed or created. Wet meadows were planted, scrapes were created, and there was widespread removal of litter from the rivers. All of the projects aimed to help nature recover and to promote the resilience and connectivity of our ecosystems in Gwent.

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The Greater Gwent Nature Recovery Action plan can be accessed here:

Greater Gwent Nature Recovery Action Plan

Colliery Spoil Invertebrates

Led by Buglife Cymru, this project looked to increase our knowledge of the distribution and diversity of invertebrates found on colliery spoil sites within Gwent through survey work and awareness raising events.

As part of the work stream a Colliery Spoil Habitat Assessment Form was used to complete a list of key invertebrates for colliery spoil site, done to facilitate site assessments. Spotter sheets based on the same form were produced and are available on Buglife website. Surveys of some of our colliery spoil sites in Gwent were completed, and management recommendations were made. Volunteer events and workshops have been an integral part to the delivery of this work stream. Outreach and engagement events such as identification workshops were well attended, and working parties engaged in maintaining the colliery spoil habitat with activities such as scrub clearance.

Rivers

LRivers Project is being led by Blaenau Gwent CBC and aims to deliver a joined up landscape scale approach to improving our blue networks.

As part of the rivers workstream River Partnerships covering Gwent have been established with meetings held. These partnerships look to improve our rivers through collaborative working. River Rangers are also out monitoring the rivers. In connection with the River Restoration Centre training for the Citizen River Habitat Survey (cRHS) has been set up and undertaken. The cRHS allows members of the public to become involved in citizen science and help monitor the rivers across Gwent.

Further river restoration work has taken place across Gwent, including

SINCs & LWS

SINCs (Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation) and LWS (Local Wildlife Sites) is led by Gwent Wildlife Trust. The aim is for a fully functioning Greater Gwent Local Wildlife Site System based on the lessons learnt developing the Monmouthshire Local Wildlife Site System.

As part of this workstream 350 Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation were reviewed and 70 Local Wildlife Sites were created.

Urban Biodiversity

This workstream is led by Blaenau Gwent CBCs Biodiversity Officer. Similar to the sustainable communities, it will also engage with communities, but in particular, working with schools, private and housing associations residents. People will be encouraged, informed and supported to take steps to notice and help the biodiversity on their doorstep enabling them to make informed choices to protect wildlife in their gardens and community spaces.

Projects in this workstream involved working with groups within the community and providing wildlife recorder packs to individuals, community groups and schools. Across Gwent similar recorder packs were distributed, linking closely with each local authority’s individual projects. Packs covered animals such as bats, reptiles, butterflies and hedgehogs and could include items such as bird feeders and ID guides, bat boxes, bat detectors, hedgehog holes and metal plate markers, nature and wellbeing books, fruit plants and herbs.

In some parts of Gwent activities were sent out each week to encourage engagement and to receive feedback, activities including things like wildlife gardening, recipes using garden herbs, Big Garden birdwatch ID events and bat survey events. Individuals have been encouraged through these events to submit their records to SEWBReC and enabled users to get a really good insight and understanding of the type of wildlife that be found right on your doorstep.

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Resilient Greater Gwent Partnership

The Partnership is made up of several organisations and include:

- Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council
- Buglife
- Caerphilly County Borough Council
- Gwent Wildlife Trust
- Monmouthshire County Council
- Newport City Council
- Natural Resources Wales
- SEWBReC
- Torfaen County Borough Council
- Technical Ecology

The aim of the Partnership is to successfully promote increasing awareness and knowledge of enhancing resilient ecological networks; demonstrating a continued sustainability of natural resources. The Project is to support cross-sector collaboration to bring a broad range of environmental, economic, social and cultural benefits. Envisaging a South East Wales that has a rich and growing biodiversity resource valued by local people who engage with it for their health and well-being. Actions are being taken against the five drivers of biodiversity loss; climate change, pollution, habitat change and loss, invasive non-native species and exploitation. 

For more information about the Resilient Greater Gwent project please contact Nadine.morgan@Blaenau-gwent.gov.uk

Greater Gwent State of Nature Report

Dogfennau Cysylltiedig

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