Help us Raise £10,000 for crucial investment in reserves
Glastir funding for Trust nature reserves
New Year’s Day ushered in a new era for our WTSWW nature reserves, as the first of January was the start date of our new contract with Welsh Government for Glastir Advanced funding.
Glastir Advanced is our agri-environment scheme in Wales. A voluntary, sustainable land management scheme, it supports farmers to deliver environmental goods and services. Its objectives include managing soils sustainably, improving water quality, reducing flood risk, conserving biodiversity, managing landscapes and the historic environment, and improving public access. In 2017, Welsh Government spent £22.6m on Glastir payments.
Although the majority of participants in the scheme are farm businesses, the scheme’s environmental focus does mean that the Wildlife Trusts are well positioned to contribute to its aims, and three other Welsh Trusts are already signed up.
WTSWW’s nature reserves are incredibly precious, and a cornerstone of our work. Their management has historically been financially supported by a wide array of income streams- including, but not limited to, membership fees, local group donations, other grant schemes such as the lottery and landfill tax, and Natural Resources Wales (NRW) and its legacy bodies.
However, this is a changing picture. Grants to fund our reserves work are now harder to come by. Ten years ago, before the impact of austerity, the Trust’s conservation team was in receipt of grant funding from the Countryside Council for Wales in the region of £100,000 a year, and the majority of this was spent on our nature reserves. Whilst this is only a proportion of our annual costs in reserve management, it clearly had a key role to play in supporting our staff and conservation delivery.
Fast forward to 2019, and NRW funding is a fifth of what it was, and restricted to project work. The income from Glastir will be critical in allowing us to continue our ongoing and most important land management operations.
The challenge, of course, is to make sure that our Glastir contract meets our aspirations for our sites; it is more restrictive than past funding in what it can pay for. However, we are pleased to report that lots of common ground was found, and Glastir will be supporting the Trust to deliver many habitat enhancements, including reedbed cutting, scrub management, hedgelaying, pond restoration, haymeadow mowing and much more.
The size and spread of our nature reserves makes delivery challenging, to say the least. Our massive contract document specifies just over 800 separate actions over five years. For our team, the reduced flexibility will be one challenge; as a government contract, we’re committed to the actions we’ve signed up for. There is no room to adjust priorities.
Nonetheless we are excited about the opportunities and increased security that this gives us in the coming years. It also gives us a stretching fundraising target: for capital works especially, Glastir only pays a percentage of costs, not the full value of the work, which we are now committed to doing. For this reason we are launching our Glastir appeal.
Glastir Appeal – how can you help?
Our Glastir contract will support us towards the costs of some crucial investment in nature reserves across our patch. In 2019 alone this includes (but is not limited to):
- New bird boxes at Pengelli Forest, Cwm Colhuw, Coed Y Bedw, Coed Simdde Lwyd
- Stock fencing at the Teifi Marshes, Pwll Y Wrach, Pant Da, Coed Garnllwyd
- New sluices to control water levels at the Teifi Marshes
- New dormouse boxes at Rhos Cefn Bryn
- Scrub clearance at Rhos Fullbrook, South Gower Coast, Carmel, Allt Rhongyr
- Management of invasive plants at Parc Slip, Pwll Waun Cynon
Glastir is contributing to all these items but, for example, pays only £3.48 per metre towards the cost of livestock fencing- which, in a sensitive and difficult-to-access nature reserves, regularly costs twice that (or more) to deliver.
All the works identified within the contract are items we have already identified as critical to our management plans. However, we need your support to raise the extra funds we need, and we are aiming to raise an extra £10,000 to support our commitments