Last week Jo and I attended the Natural Resources Policy Consultation Engagement Event in Cardiff. The title is certainly a mouthful and it was with some trepidation that we traveled to the capital, fearing perhaps some jargon laden attempt at schmoozing the environmental ‘stakeholders’. We could not have been more wrong, yes, of course there was a bit of jargon but the event was a real opportunity to engage with the policy makers and make our voice heard. There were perhaps a disappointingly small number of attendees but they did come from a good cross-section of rural land users from moorland restorators to large estates, waterways officers to conservation bodies. The purpose of the event was to seek, discuss and inform the priorities of Natural Resources Policy under both the Nature Fund and Sustainable Management Scheme Projects.
By the end of it we all felt that out voices had been heard and that some very important issues had been tabled to be included in the final report next month. The discussion groups were asked at the close of the session to come up with the single issue that we felt was the priority. It was interesting to see that all the groups came up with the same answer – education for hard to reach groups. It’s quite right, if we want to run this country sustainably into the future then we must engage with everyone, it’s no good preaching to the choir.
You won’t be surprised to hear that we managed to weave beavers into most of the topics we covered – issues such as reducing the risk of flooding, water quality and ecosystems recovery. In many cases, the answer is beavers!