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Funding boost for protected species and nature sites across Wales

12 Jan 2023 3 minute read

Rare species including bats, oysters and bumblebees are set to benefit from £3.78 million in Welsh Government conservation funding.

The Nature Networks Fund has awarded grants to 17 projects that will improve the condition and resilience of Wales’ network of protected land and marine sites.

Ranging between £87,600 and £249,999, the grants will also allow the projects to support communities around the protected sites to get involved in nature conservation.

The fund is being delivered by The National Lottery Heritage Fund in Wales on behalf of the Welsh Government and in partnership with Natural Resources Wales.

Among the projects being funded are:

The Bat Conservation Trust’s ‘Gobaith Coetir – Meirionnydd Oakwoods and Bat Sites SAC Vale of Ffestiniog’ in Gwynedd is receiving £227,603. The grant will fund a survey of SSSI woodlands in the Meirionnydd Oakwoods and Bat Sites Special Areas of Conservation in the Vale of Ffestiniog to measure the diversity and levels of bat activity there.

The Zoological Society of London has been awarded £249,919 by the Nature Networks Fund to run the ‘Restoring Wild Oysters to Conwy Bay’ project off the North Wales coast. The two year project aims to restore European native oyster habitat and the biodiverse community of associated organisms to build the resilience of our seas.

In Carmarthenshire, the Bumblebee Conservation Trust’s ‘Connecting the Carmarthenshire Coast’ project is receiving £222,272. Carmarthenshire is a priority landscape for rare bumblebees and the project will carry out comprehensive surveys to provide an accurate picture of populations and habitat for target bumblebee species.

In Pembrokeshire, Dr Beynon’s Bug Farm Ltd is receiving £211,624 to run its ‘Connected Commons & The Centre for Nature Recovery’ project. The project is aiming to plug the gaps in the habitat corridor across the St Davids Peninsula to benefit species such as the rare greater horseshoe bat;

In South East Wales, Gwent Wildlife Trust Ltd has secured £248,834 to run its ‘Connecting Nature, Connecting Communities’. It will focus on 11 nature reserves which support habitats including ancient woodland, traditional hay meadows and other species.

Nature positive

Climate Change Minister Julie James said: “I am pleased to see the wide range of terrestrial, freshwater and marine projects that will make an important contribution to the delivery of our Nature Networks Programme promoting action to help us achieve our 30 by 30 target and becoming nature positive.

“I look forward to monitoring progress of these projects and the announcement of further funding for a range of large-scale projects in due course under the Nature Networks Fund.”

Andrew White, Director of The National Lottery Heritage Fund in Wales added: “Funding natural heritage projects which help tackle the effects of climate change and support nature’s recovery is a key priority for The National Lottery Heritage Fund in Wales.”

“From seabird biosecurity; eradicating Himalayan balsam and Japanese knotweed; to the reintroduction of wild oysters; these grants will help prevent further species and habitat declines, enhance capacity to adapt to the climate crisis and bring direct health benefits to the people and communities involved.”

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