Nature reserves in north Wales to be maintained via a unique partnership that will involve 15 coastal sites and woodland areas.
Gwynedd Council has begun a unique nature project working in partnership with Tidal Lagoon Power.
A six month pilot project is now underway during which 15 existing nature reserves will be maintained and first steps taken to identify sites where the natural environment may be improved.
This partnership will allow the Council to continue the management and enhancement of Gwynedd Council’s sites. It will also include the coordination of established partnerships with local community and voluntary groups, along with ecological audits and surveys to establish baseline habitat and species data.
Councillor Dafydd Meurig, Gwynedd Council’s Cabinet Member for the Environment explains: “Due to the significant cuts in funding we receive to deliver local services, the Council had to take the difficult decision last year to stop the non-statutory work of maintaining nature reserves within our area.
“This was not a decision we were eager to introduce, and we are therefore pleased to work on a pilot project to maintain healthy functioning ecosystems within the county.
“We hope this unique partnership with Tidal Lagoon Power will continue beyond the pilot period and enable the Council to continue delivering for our communities.”
Sian Gwenllian, AM adds: “Plaid Cymru have been pushing the agenda of developing tidal lagoon technology in Wales as an opportunity to develop our economy and to provide clean renewable energy. It is an opportunity to lead the world in the development of this technology. However, it is important to monitor the impact of this technology development on wildlife and to ensure that adverse effects are mitigated. It is encouraging therefore that Gwynedd Council and Tidal Lagoon Power are being proactive by working in partnership to protect and expand nature. “
Sian John, Environment Director for Tidal Lagoon Power said: “Reverence for nature is at the core of our business as we work towards developing a fleet of lagoons in Welsh waters. We recognise the complexity of the environmental challenges raised by development proposals but firmly believe that our approach of developing innovative and collaborative partnerships will result in a net economic and environmental benefit for all. We can, and will, invest in nature alongside lagoons.
“Our partnership with Gwynedd Council is our first opportunity to be involved in a model for collaborative nature conservation and enhancement, which we hope will lead to opportunities to support biodiversity through creating new habitats. Our aim includes supporting managed realignment schemes for habitat creation around the UK in order to mitigate for any environment impacts arising from future lagoon development.
“The species that use coastal habitats are often mobile so the location of habitat creation sites is not dependent upon the position of a lagoon. We can therefore deliver conservation action where and when it is most needed; resulting in a net positive effect on biodiversity.”