Natural Resources Policy

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!

Drew

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Progress Down at t’Mill

We have been making great progress down at Ricketts Mill. Steve has been pulling back the banks of the former trout lake to create shallow areas and we have been planting some of these with reeds. Reed planting is on hold for a while because of avian flu. We are planting up the exposed earth with willow cuttings from adjacent trees. These whips usually take quite well, especially if you can push more below ground than above. In a couple of years they should produce bushes two metres high.

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The Trench Goes in.

Drew has been planting the hedgebanks with hawthorn, blackthorn, some hazel and a few beech and oaks. We have conserved the original topsoil from the banks so the residual seed bank should soon recover the vegetation.

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It’s an Underground Spaghetti Nightmare!

Meanwhile Steve and his team have been slicing a trench about 15 cm wide and one metre deep along the whole length of the field and laying a heavy electricity cable. Then all the overhead power lines will be removed. Western Power kindly offered to do this for free provided we did all the trenching and ground work. This has meant threading through a maze of water pipes that supply the ponds and Drew is busy mapping them all while we can see where they are. It all looks a mess at the moment but you cannot make a cake without breaking the eggs and when the spring comes nature will start to heal the wounds.