Natural Resource Management Plan for the South-East Wales Uplands

Client: Torfaen County Borough Council

Cumulus Consultants, in partnership with TACP, was commissioned by Torfaen County Borough Council to produce a ten year, fully costed Natural Resource Management Plan for the South-East Wales Uplands. This is the first element of the Eastern Valleys Uplands Project funded by the Welsh Government’s Nature Fund.

Process

During the ten month project, we collated and analysed a wide range of data, liaised with commoners and other stakeholders, and developed a range of proposals to enhance biodiversity, improve water and conserve the commons whilst ensuring commoning is a viable agricultural practice.

The report presents an assessment of the area’s natural resources and ecosystem services, provides a series of maps showing potential opportunities, and develops eight management proposals and a number of costed action plans.

Findings and recommendations

Key findings arising from the Gloucestershire Level 2 report included:

  • The South-East Wales uplands covers 380 sq km including parts of five local authority areas and sixteen large commons.
  • The area is rich in biodiversity and cultural and historic heritage.
  • Key ecosystem services are food production, climate regulation, water regulation, recreation and provision of habitats for wildlife.
  • The main farming issues are financial viability and ‘landscape crime’ such as illegal off-roading, boundary vandalism, fly tipping and arson.

Key recommendations include:

  • Upland management proposals covering: retention of more water in the uplands; incentives for cattle grazing; heathland management and restoration; maintenance of commoning; use for renewable energy; landscape crime; recreation and tourism; and community engagement
  • 23 action plans to achieve the management proposals above, such as restoring wetlands and enhancing recreation.

Key benefits:

  • A holistic, ten year, fully costed Natural Resources Management Plan for the uplands of South-East Wales.
  • Use of an ecosystems approach to inform opportunity mapping and the development of management proposals.
  • Strong engagement with commoners to ensure practical and economically viable options and plans.
  • Clear benefits for the local economy and local communities.

Weblink

The full report and a non-technical summary can be accessed here :

Case study image - Torfaen County Borough Council

What others say

This is the first management plan for the uplands to focus on an ecosystems services approach (and) forms the prototype for other Natural Resource Management Plans in Wales … It offers the landscape profession an effective auditable process for implementing the ecosystems services model at a landscape scale
The Landscape Institute
(Highly Commended in the Strategic Landscape Planning category of the Landscape Awards 2016)
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