As Coordinator of Ceredigion Local Nature Partnership, I am excited by UWTSD’s vision for the future of Lampeter.  In these trying times, as the pandemic, climate change and the changing policy landscape for food and farming bring so much uncertainty into our lives, it is a comfort to know the University recognises its central role in regenerating the town and its environs.  The Canolfan Tir Glas initiative is a good example of the kind of long-term thinking which is needed if we’re to achieve sustainable benefits for future generations. 

Taking advantage of the range of natural assets that exist locally while responding to the global ecological crisis, as this initiative aims to do, is indeed a bold ambition.  Economic resilience and social justice of the kind envisaged can only be gained on a basis of thriving ecosystems. 

We need to change the way we produce food if we’re to conserve habitat for threatened species such as:

  • Brown Hare, whose numbers have declined drastically with changing farming practices
  • Countless species of birds, who are suffering losses due to declining soil health and reduced food supply of insects and wildflower seeds
  • Pollinators – not only honeybees but also many bumblebees and solitary bees
  • Brown Hairstreak butterflies, who depend entirely on healthy blackthorn hedges to complete their life cycle
  • Wild Atlantic Salmon who require healthy rivers, free from pollution or artificial barriers, if they are to spawn successfully
  • Dolphin, Porpoise and Grey Seal, with whom we share dwindling fish stocks
  • Numerous species who rely on the seabed remaining intact.

Healthy ecosystems not only support biodiversity: they also help to prevent flooding and erosion and maintain soil fertility, water quality and clean air.  For future generations to continue enjoying these benefits, we must adopt more sustainable patterns of land use.  Canolfan Tir Glas can help us learn how, and it recognises that to succeed, it is dependent on local support. 

This is where the Local Nature Partnership comes in.  We are a network of over 100 individuals, community groups and organisations from across Ceredigion, with a wide range of backgrounds but a single, shared aim: to halt and reverse the loss of nature in our county.  To this end, we are co-creating a Local Nature Recovery Action Plan.  We invite anyone who shares our aim to contribute their ideas, knowledge, resources and skills to make this a reality. 

We especially welcome the training in sustainable farming methods offered by the Academy of Contemporary Food Wales; the core module ‘Resilient by Design’ and the ‘Learning from Nature’ programme delivered by Wales Centre for Resilience and Harmony.

Between us, Ceredigion Local Nature Partnership members have a wealth of knowledge and experience enabling us to advise on ways to address the nature emergency.  UWTSD is a valued member of the Local Nature Partnership.  We look forward to exploring the many ways in which the Canolfan Tir Glas and Ceredigion Local Nature Partnership can provide mutual advice, support and assistance to one another.

Conservation and Wildlife – Ceredigion County Council