Second Meeting held in Llechryd 29-Sep-2022
Three major presentations were given at this meeting as follows:
The following people representing their organisations, talked about their work on the Teifi and answering questions.
The presentations given will be reproduced below - with thanks to all the presenters for their co-operation.
1. Local Nature Partnership presentation by Rachel Aukland
Save the Teifi
notes for talk at Llechryd 29/09/2022
Rachel Auckland ydw i, Cydlynnydd Partneriaeth Natur Leol Ceredigion. Diolch yn fawr iawn am fy gnwahodd i siarad wrthoch chi heno. Rwyf wedi paratoi sleids dwyeithog, felly os oes well ‘da chi dilyn y tecst yn y Gymraeg mae croeso mawr i chi, ond gyda’ch caniatad, gwnaf yn cyflwyno yn fy iaith cyntaf, sef Saesneg. Gwnaf yn siarad am tua chwarter awr, a gadael digon o amser ar y diwedd i gymryd cwestiynnau, felly yn ystod y gyflwyniad, ysgrifenwch ynrhyw nodiaddau a byddaf yn rhoi fy nghorau i’w ymateb yn yr iaith eich dewis.
Thank you for inviting me to talk to you this evening. I have prepared bilingual slides for you to follow in the language of your choice, but with your permission, I shall speak in my first language, which is English. I shall talk for about fifteen minutes and allow plenty of time for questions or comments at the end, so as we go along, please do jot down any notes and queries and I’ll do my best to respond in the language of your choice. I hope you can see my slides clearly.
I’ll briefly tell you about myself, then I’ll talk about the Local Nature Partnership and how it is relevant to you and your concerns about the River Teifi.
My name is Rachel Auckland, (title ‘Mrs’, pronoun ‘she’) and I am the Coordinator of Ceredigion Local Nature Partnership.
On this slide are three logos:
Local Nature Partnership Cymru is a Wales-wide project funded by the Welsh Government’s Local Places for Nature stream.
The project is managed by WCVA, the Wales Council for Voluntary Action.
My post is hosted by Ceredigion County Counci. l I sit within the Conservation Team in Ceredigion, alongside the Planning Ecologists, Local Nature Reserves Officer, Marine Conservation team and project staff which I’ll touch on later.
I have an equivalent within each of the Local Authorities and National Parks throughout Wales, so my counterpart in Carmarthenshire is Isabel Macho and in Pembrokeshire it’s Ant Rogers, whom some of you may know. Although each area has its own character, we meet regularly online to share best practice.
In the last three years prior to taking up this post, I volunteered in a facilitator role, and I’d just like to highlight a couple of achievements during that time which you may find interesting:
I’ve listed here my early achievements since taking up this role full time:
Firstly, I’ve been broadening and diversifying engagement with the LNP by:
These are called Newyddion Natur Ceredigion or Ceredigion Nature News. They are bilingual, they go out about once or twice a month, covering a wide range of topics of relevance to nature within the county and I hope at the end of the evening you’ll all want to sign up to my mailing list! It’s free of charge.
Secondly, I’ve been working to help integrate LNP aims within other key networks, projects and plans. This strand of the work is in its infancy. I’ve so far begun to engage with tourism strategy, the outdoor learning network, wellbeing plans, the Public Service Board’s placed-based sub-groups and wider groups like the Green Infrastructure Forum.
Thirdly, I’ve begun coordinating activity around the local Nature Recovery Action Plan, which I’ll mention again presently.
By way of background, the LNP was preceded by the Local Biodiversity Partnership, whose role was to develop and implement Local Biodiversity Action Plans and that work provides the foundation of what I’m doing today. This slide shows some of the iconic species who have an LBAP and they include Water Vole, Otter, Red Squirrel and Pipistrelle Bat, all of whom may be found along the banks of the Teifi. You can find these LBAPs on our website Conservation and Wildlife - Ceredigion County Council.
About a decade ago, the Biodiversity Partnership identified the following key themes: Pollinators; Invasive Non-Native Species; and the River Teifi.
Today, whilst those themes remain of relevance to the Local Nature Partnership, the emphasis has shifted as the extent of the Nature Crisis becomes clearer to a wider audience.
The LNP today is best described by reference to the draft Terms of Reference which were drawn up at our last meeting, so these are yet to be agreed by all members, but they should give you a pretty good idea of who we are and where we’re up to:
Biodiversity is declining rapidly across Wales. The 2019 State of Nature report found that 1 in 6 species are at risk of extinction. Ceredigion is home to an array of ecosystems, many of which are threatened. Ceredigion Nature Partnership members are committed to tackling this threat.
Who we are
Ceredigion Local Nature Partnership (CLNP) is a networking and knowledge-sharing platform for interested organisations, groups, and individuals to come together to discuss biodiversity-related issues within Ceredigion and share/develop strategies to tackle them.
Bringing together public bodies, non-governmental organisations, communities, and individuals from across the county, CLNP has broad representation across all sectors and is an ever-expanding platform.
A biodiverse Ceredigion that works for nature and people.
Ceredigion Local Nature Partnership connects organisations, groups, and individuals to amplify and accelerate biodiversity conservation and restoration work within the county with a shared goal of halting and reversing biodiversity loss by 2030.
What we do
As a networking platform, CLNP’s primary purpose is to connect and promote collaboration between groups and individuals working to conserve and restore biodiversity across the county.
As a knowledge-sharing platform, CLNP encourages all members to share their work and expertise on biodiversity-related issues for the benefit of others.
Each member will have their own goals and objectives. However, it is important that these are placed in a broader context ecologically, economically, and socially. By bringing together members, CLNP encourages discussion, capacity-building, and (when possible) collaboration and resource sharing.
CLNP is a forum open to all. There will inevitably be disagreement between members, but this forum must remain a safe and inclusive space for all. There are many avenues for biodiversity protection and restoration, particularly in intensively managed landscapes such as Ceredigion, so all viewpoints must be heard and respected.
What we don’t do
CLNP itself is not a lobbying platform. Many members within the partnership will be engaged in this work and the role of CLNP is to bring these members together.
Here I should emphasise that whilst my post is hosted by Ceredigion County Council’s Conservation Team, the County Council is one of many LNP partners and I am not empowered to speak for partners individually.
This said, I can provide an update on the policy context and pointers to the relevant service areas provided by CCC (such as flood management and nutrient management) and explain how to engage with them. I can also give an indication of which other LNP partners are involved in rivers-related work and how you can participate in current and proposed projects.
Just to add that since the lifting of lockdown, we’ve resumed meeting quarterly face to face. Our Summer meeting at Denmark Farm explored the theme of grassland / meadows / wildflowers / pollinators; our Autumn meeting at Pafiliwn y Bont and Coed y Bont looked at trees / hedgerows / woodlands / forests and we’ll probably repeat that theme as our work evolves. The Winter meeting will be online; and the Spring meeting will be face to face again and centred around the theme of fresh water, so springs / ponds / lakes / stream / rivers. All members are welcome, so there’s another reason to sign up.
So how is this relevant to the Teifi?
In this evening’s talk, I am focussing on the wildlife within the Teifi catchment and on potential impacts from a range of pressures, including pollution, climate change and tourism/recreation (litter, dog fouling etc) and how community groups can address this participation in the Local Nature Partnership.
But first, let’s look at the river itself. The following information comes from The Teifi and its tributaries - Discover Ceredigion
The river Teifi, at 75 miles (122km) in length, is the longest river that flows from source to sea wholly within Wales.
Most of the Teifi and its tributaries are designated a Special Area for Conservation
The Teifi marshes on the river's estuary are a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and has one of the largest expanses of reedbeds. (In Wales? In the World?)
In terms of wildlife, the Teifi is an outstanding example of a river with Ranunculus vegetation or water-crowfoot. It also provides habitat to the following protected species of fauna: River Lamprey, Atlantic Salmon, sea trout and bullhead (pictured left); Otter I’ve previously mentioned; also representing flora we have floating water plantain which favours a nutrient-poor environment (pictured right).
More information about the designation can be found on the JNCC website Afon Teifi/ River Teifi - Special Areas of Conservation (jncc.gov.uk)
or for the management plan see NRW’s webpage here: 2012 08 07 Afon Teifi River Teifi SAC management plan _ Eng _ (naturalresources.wales)
A key concern for the Conservation Team is nutrification of the river, and particularly phosphates, which arise from a combination of sources including sewage discharge from both public treatment works and private septic tanks, farm run-off and to a much lesser extent other sources such as road verge management practices. More information can be found about that on the council’s webpage here: Phosphates on the Teifi River - Ceredigion County Council
Phosphates are not the only source of nutrification and CCC has recently created a post of Nutrient Management Project Officer. The first project to receive funding is known as PRAM: Phosphate Reduction and Mitigation Project. We’re planning to invite the project officer to update on progress at our Spring meeting – so that’s another reason to join the Local Nature Partnership.
As well as the wildlife features which give the Teifi its designation as a Special Area for Conservation, there are other species which call the river home and bring character to the area. These include birds such as Dippers and Kingfishers; mammals such as Hedgehogs (which are by now an endangered species) and many kinds of bats (there are 17 species in Wales).
The Discover Ceredigion website also lists four woodlands which abut the Teifi or its tributaries, each owned and managed by a different voluntary organisation and member of the LNP.
Coed Maidie B Goddard (Wildlife Trust reserve) at Llechryd
Coed y Foel, Llandysul (Woodland Trust)
Longwood Community Woodland, Lampeter
Coed y Bont Community Woodland, Pontrhydfendigaid, on WG owned NRW managed land ( a Dark Sky Discovery Site)
I understand that you are concerned about degradation of the river and asking what’s being done about it and what you can do to support current actions.
It was clear from the report in the Cambrian News following your last meeting that the biggest concern seems to be around sewage release but also flooding, no doubt in the context of climate change.
Whilst I naturally share your concerns about the impacts of pollution and flooding on human communities, I hope you’ll understand that the purpose of my work is to protect wildlife. Hence this talk looks at pressures on the river and its wildlife.
I understand that CCC’s Senior Engineer for Flood and Water Management has responsibility for the Council’s response on flooding and I’ll be happy to take any questions on that topic back to her if that helps.
The Conservation Team’s input on this matter is to include one suggested priority in the draft Corporate Strategy to address flooding on the Teifi and I would urge you to respond to the consultation here: Corporate Strategy 2022-2027 - Ceredigion County Council by the closing date which is Friday 30th Tomorrow!!!
Any other enquiries should be directed to Clic via email: email@example.com
So, what is the LNP doing to address these concerns?
Well, we are attempting to work up a Nature Recovery Action Plan, to help us identify priorities and areas for collaboration and resource-sharing. I can expand on that process now if we have time, or later in a dedicated session if you’d rather.
Of specific relevance this evening -
There is a newly formed Ceredigion Rivers Group (part of the LNP) which emerged in response to the call for bids for Resilient Communities funding, addressing Area Statement Priorities; because fresh water is one of NRW’s Area Statement priorities for Mid Wales, which it seemed we could and should tackle, I called an on online meeting, inviting everyone I could think of who would be interested in the theme of Rivers. From this emerged a project group focused on the Rheidol and comprising WWRT, Tir Canol (formerly Summit to Sea) and Penparcau Wildlife group. Their first collaborative project is an engagement and participation project around mapping opportunities for and undertaking improvements to river access, wildlife monitoring and interpretation and some physical restoration work. If successful, it’s hoped that the learning will be applicable more widely.
Meanwhile, there is commitment from other members to continue networking across the county between key players such as DCWW, NRW and CCC, as well as community groups including:
So, I would urge Friends of the Teifi to join this network, share your learning and gain from hearing about what others are up to.
I think that’s it from me. Here is my email address.
Please get in touch if you’d like to:
Diolch yn fawr iawn.
2. West Wales River Trust & Teifi Restoration Project by Nathaniel James
Nathaniel has provided us a wealth of information
For useful references and insight into water quality & state of Teifi see the links below:
Nathaniel encourages us to take a community approach to reporting incidents to NRW's incident line whenever concerning events are identified. The more calls the greater the duty to respond. The guidance for this is in the documents below. He wants to empower and inspire us all to the positive impact a united community group like ours can make.
Nathaniel indicated that this video would be useful on the topic of "reimaging the landscape" and innovative ways to tackle biodiversity loss, flood risk, poor water quality.
Nathanial understands it will take a lot more than just addressing sewage's impact to save the Teifi. Many of the lower tributaries of the Teifi (many of those listed as poor ecological status) are serially polluted and of poor habitat quality (including ecosystem services they could provide). WWRT had two reports of slurry entering the Hirwaun* in Sep 2022 and many other incidents may have gone unnoticed. The link between antibiotic-resistant bacteria and the dairy industry is worrying. Slurry from non-organic farms will often contain a lot more than just feces. We must not forget other impacts that span the length of the Teifi in the fight to save the river. Agriculture, Development, Forestry & Land drainage to name but a few.
*Note: The principal tributaries of the Teifi (ordered from source to sea) are as follows: Afon Mwyro, Nant Glasffrwd, Afon Meurig, Afon Fflur, Camddwr Fach, Camddwr, Brennig, Nant Carfan, Afon Brefi, Nant Digonest, Nant Clywedog, Ffrwd Cynon, Nant Gou,Nant Dulas, Nant Hathren, Nant Eiddig, Nant y Gwragedd, Nant Dolgwm, Afon Granell, Afon Duar, Nant Hust, Nant Ceiliog, Nant Caradog, Nant Cwm-du, Nant Cledlyn, Nant Fylchog, Afon Clettwr, Nant Wern-macwydd, Gwenffrwd, Afon Cerdin, Afon Tyweli, Nant Merwydd, Hoffnant, Afon Gwr-fach, Afon Siedi, Camnant, Nant Bachnog, Nant Iago, Nant Bargod, Afon Cynllo, Afon Cwm-wern, Nant Halen, Afon Arad, Nant Sarah, Afon Ceri, Afon Nawmor, Afon Hirwaun,Afon Cych, Afon Eifed, Nant Arberth, Afon Morgenau, Afon Plysgog, Nant Rhyd-y-fuwch, Afon Piliau, Afon Mwldan, Nant Degwen, Nant-y-ferwig. (See River Teifi - Wikipedia)
3. Welsh Water Presentation
Here is a pdf file of the above slides: Our Teifi - One Catchment
Weblinks included and mentioned in the presentation are below
Wales Better River Quality Taskforce Wales Better River Quality Taskforce | GOV.WALES
Questions and Answers
After the presentation there were many questions, some could not be answered on the night. Here below is the list of questions and the responses can be found in this pdf document: Save the Teifi Q&A for Dwr Cymru Welsh Water
4. Actions to be taken and Reported Back at Next Meeting
After the presentations and Q&A sessions there was a discussion as to next steps. The ‘Save The Teife’ Steering group met 3-Oct-22 and agreed the following actions to progress:
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