‘Osprey discovery won’t thwart our plans’ says Green Man boss
Green Man festival owner Fiona Stewart has played down a report that the discovery of nesting ospreys on a farm she hopes to lease from the Welsh Government will thwart her plans.
The Times reported that a pair of ospreys had been found nesting at Gilestone Farm near Talybont on Usk in the Bannau Brycheiniog national park in early June.
Recently the rare birds of prey migrated to west Africa for winter and may well return next year.
The Times said: “Both the birds and their nests are legally protected and can require significant exclusion zones to prevent disturbance from people, meaning they could present a dilemma for the Green Man team’s plans for food businesses and small events there. The Welsh Government is also involved, as it bought the farm for £4.25m to help the festival diversify and create jobs.”
Ospreys were hunted to extinction in the UK in the 19th century. After being reintroduced and breeding in Scotland in the 1950s, they have spread southwards with about 250 pairs across the UK. The only six breeding pairs in Wales so far have been in the north of the country.
Peter Seaman, a leading opponent of the festival’s expansion plans, told The Times: “These are the most southerly, and it’s just brilliant news.”
Hoping that the arrival of the ospreys will help scupper the use of Gilestone Farm by Green Man, he added: “I feel they’ve chosen the wrong place, which is environmentally unsuitable: it floods. And it’s wrong for wildlife reasons, because of the impact of light and noise on bats, and other animals including otters and kingfishers.”
Andrew King, Brecknock county bird recorder, told The Times it was “very exciting” that a young male osprey that had been “scoping out” the area for at least two years appeared to have chosen to breed there. He has seen the birds building the nest from June to the start of September.
The Welsh Government is looking to commission an expert to report on the osprey nest. Mr King said: “It’s going to be very hard to hold public events near it.”
Tim Mackrill, a conservationist at Roy Dennis Wildlife Foundation who has visited the nest, told The Times: “That site now is really significant for the conservation of ospreys in Wales, because it is by far the most southerly site. They can cope with normal farming, but anything over and above that, there would have to be careful consideration.”
Fiona Stewart, the founder and managing director of Green Man, told Nation.Cymru: “We were all really excited to hear that an osprey nest has been found on the farm. It’s just incredible that this has happened and we will work with all authorised authorities to ensure the nest is protected. A deep respect for the natural world is at the core of Green Man, and supporting local wildlife was always in our plans.
“The increasing wealth and age gap in rural Wales is creating social and economic problems which impact on future generations and climate change. Our role at the farm is to try and help address this, but unlike other business projects we do not require new buildings to be constructed, and our business operation is diverse and covers many sectors. This gives us the flexibility to adapt.”
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