How Afonydd Cymru will work with the rivers trusts

The last six months have been immensely rewarding and challenging in equal measure. My focus has been on support to the rivers trusts of Wales and to their aims and objectives. I am pleased today to publish Afonydd Cymru first Business Plan outlining our vision for Wales and our objectives until 2027. This Plan outlines how Afonydd Cymru will work with the rivers trusts to accelerate delivery of clean and healthy rivers for every community in Wales.

Our primary aim is to restore our freshwater habitats. We have three rivers left in Wales to survey to finalise our All-Wales database, recording every barrier to migration and habitat restoration activity needed to restore our freshwater habitat. To support this, Afonydd Cymru has worked tirelessly since April to secure Strategic Allocation Funding of another £1m from Welsh Government, facilitated by Natural Resources Wales. But this is just a drop in the ocean of the funding that will be needed to deliver the failures we have identified. We are now working on additional and new sources of funding to support this. We are also working, alongside other eNGO’s in Wales, to secure a funding mechanism for environmental delivery in Wales that is effective, supports strategic multi-year delivery and allows us to underpin the Rivers Trust movement in Wales. We are very pleased to have been able to support not one but two successful Nature Network Funding bids to further river improvements in West Wales.

We have been strengthening our partnerships with other eNGO’s in Wales and continue to develop our important role with Wales Environment Link. Afonydd Cymru now has a MOU in place with Woodland Trust Wales and we have secured funding from the Fishmongers Association to explore tree planting opportunities in Wales. We have represented our rivers at the Wales Fisheries Forum, the Wales Water Forum and the Wales Land Management Forum.

Resolving river pollution needs solutions and delivery of a massive scale. Afonydd Cymru are now working with local authorities across Wales to support on phosphorus mitigation and river water quality enhancement schemes. We have the capability to drive nature-based solutions across Wales, but await the regulatory processes to enable us to deliver these. We are pleased to be completing our second farm advisory project, this one in the Tywi catchment. It is imperative that planning in Wales protects our rivers, that cumulative impacts of discharges are understood, that additional development is not allowed where there is insufficient capacity in the network and that all statutory bodies recognize and play their part in this protection. This is the least our rivers deserve.

Can’t wait to see what the next six months bring, and what we can deliver for 2021/22!