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William Powell AM visits Powys RSPB reserve to experience conservation work

October 12, 2012 12:14 PM

William Powell AM, Welsh Liberal Democrat Spokesperson for Environment, Rural Affairs and Sustainable Development, met with representatives from RSPB Cymru at the Lake Vyrnwy reserve in Montgomeryshire to gain first-hand experience of their conservation work and organic farm.

William Powell, Assembly Member for Mid and West Wales, said:

"I am very grateful for RSPB Cymru for inviting me to experience the Lake Vymwy reserve. Its diverse mix of habitats demonstrates the remarkable diversity of the Welsh landscape, along with its unending ability to inspire those who visit it.

It is essential that areas such as these continue to be conserved. This must not only be done for their beauty, but for the essential role they play in maintaining our diverse ecosystems and locking up carbon in the battle against climate change.

The work undertaken by RSPB Cymru conservation officers is both demanding and highly rewarding. It was a real pleasure to spend so much time learning how they perform their essential task and I would encourage others to experience it for themselves."

Katie-jo Luxton, Director of RSPB Cymru, commented:

"It was a pleasure to meet with Mr Powell at our Lake Vyrnwy reserve, a spectacular site for wildlife and people. It was a great opportunity to show Mr Powell the achievements of the LIFE Active Blanket Bog Project which concluded last year."

"The site is exemplar of the ecosystem services approach which the Welsh Government wish to develop, delivering clean water, locking up tonnes of carbon and as an important site for wildlife. Our peatland is Wales' equivalent to tropical forests locking up millions of tonnes of carbon. We must ensure our peatland bogs are in good condition and that this important function is not degraded. Our wish to continue and extend this ecosystem management for a wide range of environmental outcomes is the prime reason that RSPB and United Utilities have been selected as the preferred bidders in the sale of the estate by Severn Trent Water."

Notes

1) The Lake Vyrnwy upland reserve covers thousands of hectares of heather moorland, grassland, blanket blog and woodland, crossed by rocky streams and dotted with crags. In partnership with Severn Trent Water, RSPB Cymru manage part of the reserve as the largest organic farm in England and Wales.

It is also the site of the LIFE funded blanket bog restoration project and is a part of the wider RSPB North Wales Moors Futurescapes area identified as a focus area for working in partnership beyond reserves and protected sites to achieve landscape scale conservation management.

2) The LIFE Active Blanket Bog Project (2006-2011), which restored degraded moorland on a scale not seen before in Wales, was at the forefront of research into the importance of moorlands in climate change science. A total of 485km of drains were blocked on the bog in order to restore the bog improving the hydrology, sequestration of carbon, and the recovery of specialist vegetation benefitting both people and wildlife.

3) Lake Vyrnwy provides an exemplar that demonstrates how a reservoir catchment, providing drinking water for a major city, can also be managed as a nature conservation habitat of European importance and as farmland providing local employment and a quality organic product.