FROM donkeys in Snowdonia to the salmon of the River Usk, the Welsh Government has today confirmed funding for 29 conservation projects across Wales.

The Nature Networks Fund was confirmed in March this year with the Welsh Government promising to invest in the "condition and connectivity" of the protected site network, supported by the "active involvement of local communities".

Five projects in the Gwent area are set to receive a share of more than £850,000 as part of the scheme.

A total of £7 million of Welsh Government support will be confirmed for these projects in the Senedd later today, Tuesday.

The sites supported provide a vital sanctuary and high level of protection to nearly 70 species, and more than 50 types of habitats which face threats worldwide.

They also contribute significantly to the Welsh economy through tourism recreation, farming, fishing and forestrym as well as providing services such as purifying drinking water, and storing carbon.


In the Gwent area, the projects benefiting from a share of the funding are:

  • Former Tredegar Park Golf Course Biodiversity Enhancement Project, Newport City Council - £73,000 - The construction of a specially designed sand martin hotel on the bank of the River Ebbw at the Former Tredegar Park Golf Course. Gwent Ornithological Trust (GOT) will utilize the building to monitor the sand martin population. Will include other works such as litter removal, knotweed management and provision of otter holts and amphibian enhancements.
  • Monkey Island Biodiversity & Visitor Project, Newport City Council - £88,000 - Designated Site of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINC) due to its post-industrial grassland habitat as well as SSSI & SAC. A number of conservation management actions are included in this project to improve biodiversity & to encourage people to visit and appreciate the wildlife.
  • Shaftsbury Park Old Allotment Restoration Project, Newport City Council - £53,000 - The project will commission a contaminated land survey report, design/site investigation/regulators and licencing proposal as well as a costed work plan to remove/make safe the contaminated land to allow public access once more.
  • Nature Reserve enhancements for biodiversity resilience, Gwent Wildlife Trust - £379,800 - Project will focus on 14 Nature Reserves within the protected site network including rich ancient woodland, flower strewn meadows and fragile wetlands, with nine SSSI’s and five Local Wildlife Sites (LWS) that encompass more than 253 hectares. The project will enhance vulnerable habitats across the protected site network.
  • Lower Wye Valley Nature Networks, Herefordshire Council/Wye Valley AONB - £258,446 - A collaborative project between the Wye Valley AONB partnership, Gwent Wildlife trust and woodland trust focussing on designated sites in the Wye Valley AONB, their management and connectivity.

National Heritage Memorial Fund has taken responsibility for administering the Nature Networks Fund, Andrew White, director of The National Lottery Heritage Fund in Wales said: “From restoring wetlands, to creating rich habitat for wildlife to flourish, it is vital that we preserve and rebuild our natural heritage.

“The Nature Networks scheme, in partnership with the Welsh Government, will allow projects to carry out direct conservation which is essential in protecting our biodiversity, and will also increase public awareness of how and why we need to protect our future.”

Project SIARC (Sharks Inspiring Action and Research with Communities), operating in Carmarthen Bay and Tremadog Bay is another of the projects to benefit from this announcement.

The collaborative project led by ZSL (Zoological Society of London) and Natural Resources Wales received £390,000, alongside funding from National Lottery Heritage Fund and On the EDGE Conservation, to carry out vital conservation research on Wales’ marine environment with a strong focus on sharks, skates and rays.