Rewilding group withdraws from project
A major backer of the Summit to Sea eco-project in Mid-Wales has pulled out.
Sussex-based Rewilding Britain has announced that it will withdraw following criticism of the project.
“Summit to Sea” is a £3.4 million initiative that “aims to restore flourishing ecosystems and a resilient local economy”.
The plan is to transform a large swathe of Wales from the Pumlumon massif down through wooded valleys to the Dyfi Estuary and out into Cardigan Bay.
Rewilding Britain’s chief executive, Rebecca Wrigley, said: “We’re hugely proud to have helped get Summit to Sea up and running.
“It’s an inspiring project about restoring nature, benefitting rural communities and supporting the local economy.
“To succeed, it has to be community led and community supported as it finds ways to help both people and nature to thrive.
“While Summit to Sea held a series of face-to-face meetings and consultations locally, we should have communicated more widely that the project was to be community-led and owned.
“We’ve learnt some invaluable lessons about how to do this in the most effective way, which we’re committed to putting into practice elsewhere.”
On, Thursday, October 10, Powys County Councillors (PCC) voted overwhelmingly against supporting the project.
Plaid Cymru group leader, councillor Elwyn Vaughan, put forward the motion against the project, and said: “I welcome this news that Rewilding Britain will be withdrawing and hope that it can be a step towards ensuring local ownership over the activities.
“Over recent months it has been emphasised that people are happy working with conservation partners and much good work already happens, with Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust, RSPB and Woodland Trust, however the lack of respect and trust in Rewilding Britain specifically, undermined any opportunity to move things forward.”
Summit to Sea Director, Melanie Newton, said: “The community is at the heart of the Summit to Sea project, and so the views of local people are vital to the partnership.
“The project steering group – including Rewilding Britain – has taken on board concerns raised by local people and farming unions and decided to make changes to the way Summit to Sea is managed.
“We are now eager to move forward with the community and pave the way for a future which is beneficial to all.”
Community engagement sessions, are set to start next month and information about the drop-in sessions published on the Summit to Sea website.