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 work-stream. 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.
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.
Invasive Non Native Species (INNS)
Led by Caerphilly CBC, this project aims to combat invasive non-native plant species over the whole of South East Wales allowing for a strategic approach to be adopted and to build upon the successful controls already being implemented when addressing INNS in the region. The project will target catchments throughout the region and be directed through a collaborative steering group that is made up of representatives of all the key partner organisations.
The INNS project has surveyed 60ha of land and treated approximately 1700 sites for the management of INNS, particularly Japanese Knotweed, Himalayan Balsam and Giant Hogweed. Both council owned land and publicly accessible green spaces have been treated across Gwent. Better quality equipment has also been purchased to aid this work.
Rivers 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 restoring riparian habitats, scrub control, wet meadow planting and removal of litter and pollutants.
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 work-stream 350 Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation were reviewed and 70 Local Wildlife Sites were created.
This work stream is led by Monmouthshire CC Behaviour Change for Wellbeing Officer. It will take a community and place based approach, engaging with communities and seeking to add value. People will be increasingly connected with and appreciate nature and sustainable lifestyles. This will support their physical and mental wellbeing.
Under this work-stream public engagement has been paramount with volunteering activities, public events and social media interaction. Across Gwent projects have been undertaken with sustainable communities in mind. Community groups have been involved in the management of green spaces, in some instances taking over the day to day management. New interpretation boards have been erected in some sites which emphasise the importance of biological recording and encourages citizen science. Virtual training sessions have been held to engage the public as well as volunteer days and activities.
Further projects have included provision of information leaflets for the public encouraging the enhancement of biodiversity in planning applications, as well as encouraging wildlife in gardens. Wellbeing has been promoted through activities such as Wellbeing Walks and engaging in volunteer days. Family event days during the school holidays were a success and further pollinator packs have been made and distributed to various schools, community groups and individuals across Gwent.
This work-stream 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 work-stream 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.
Resilient Greater Gwent Partnership
The Partnership is made up of several organisations and include:
- Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council
- Caerphilly County Borough Council
- Gwent Wildlife Trust
- Monmouthshire County Council
- Newport City Council
- Natural Resources Wales
- 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
- GGSoN 1 - Introduction, Ecosystems, Data
- GGSoN 2 - Mammals
- GGSoN 3 - Birds
- GGSoN 4 - Herptiles
- GGSoN 5 - Fish
- GGSoN 6 - Lepidoptera
- GGSoN 7 - Odonata
- GGSoN 8 - Other Invertebrates
- GGSoN 9 - Vascular Plants
- GGSoN 10 - Fungi, Lichens, Bryophytes
- GGSoN 11 - INNS and Plant Diseases
- GGSoN 12 - Appendices
- Taflen Gofnodi'r Tomenni Glo 1
- Taflen Gofnodi'r Tomenni Glo 3
- Taflen Gofnodi'r Tomenni Glo 2
- Ffurflen Asesu Cynefin Rwbel Glofa
- Colliery Spoil Habitat Assessment Form
- Colliery Spoil Spotter Sheet 2
- Colliery Spoil Spotter Sheet 3
- Executive Summary
- Colliery Spoil Spotter Sheet 1