Natural Environment

Celebrating amazing green spaces

265 parks and green spaces in Wales have received the prestigious Green Flag Award and Green Flag Community Award. They include a diverse range of sites, from country parks and formal gardens, to allotments, woodlands and churchyards.

Now in its third decade, the international Green Flag Award is a sign to the public that a park or green space boasts the highest possible environmental standards, is beautifully maintained and has excellent visitor facilities.

Wales still holds more than a third of the UK’s Green Flag community sites, which are maintained and run by volunteers.

Welsh Government Minister for Climate Change, Julie James said:

“Our local green spaces have a vital role to play in connecting us to nature. These awards go to prove that Wales’ parks and similar areas are doing a wonderful job in providing quality places to relax and enjoy.

“The standard required to achieve Green Flag status is very high so I want to congratulate all of the sites recognised for providing excellent, year-round facilities to local people and visitors alike.

“It’s fantastic to see we still hold more than a third of the UK’s Green Flag community sites in Wales – especially as the last two years have taught us all of the importance of nature and green spaces on our mental and physical wellbeing.”

Lucy Prisk, Green Flag Coordinator at Keep Wales Tidy said:

“The last few years have really shown us just how important high-quality parks and green spaces are to our communities. With more visitors than ever enjoying our green spaces, I’d like to congratulate the hard work of staff and volunteers who have maintained excellent standards at these sites.”

A full list of award winners can be found on the Keep Wales Tidy website

Keep Wales Tidy are always on the lookout for new places to join the Green Flag Awards. If you’d like to put your park or green space on the map, visit the Keep Wales Tidy website for more information.

Transform your community with a free garden package from Local Places for Nature

Since the first year of Local Places for Nature in 2020, nearly 800 gardens have been created, restored and enhanced. Community groups and organisations of all shapes and sizes got involved – from disability charities and youth groups to social enterprises and carer groups.

Applications have now reopened, and communities are being urged to get involved early to avoid missing out. The new online application system makes it very easy to apply and review progress, as well as offering resources, guidance and updates from the Local Places for Nature scheme. You can choose from small or larger-scale wildlife and food growing gardens, or for the first time the scheme is offering a new community orchard package.

Minister for Climate Change, Julie James said:

“The pandemic has given us all a greater appreciation of nature and its importance on our health and mental wellbeing.

“I’m pleased to be supporting another year of Local Places for Nature. The programme makes it easy for people from all backgrounds and abilities to get involved, as a community, to create and enjoy nature in the places where we live and spend most of our time.
“Valuing nature and taking small local level actions is so important as part of the collective effort needed to tackle the nature emergency, and support the variety of plants and animals we love to see in Wales.”

Deputy Chief Executive for Keep Wales Tidy Louise Tambini said:

“Over the past two years, people have really appreciated the value of nature and we’re delighted to offer again free garden packs to communities. We know that gardening and being out in nature has a positive impact on mental wellbeing, and it’s a great way to keep fit and meet new people. Through Local Places for Nature, we have created hundreds of new habitats and spaces for nature, which is vital in the current climate emergency and decline in biodiversity.”

“Thanks to the ongoing support of Welsh Government and our partners our garden packs include all the materials and tools you need to create a new space for nature and Keep Wales Tidy staff will be on hand to install the garden.”

The initiative is jointly funded by the Welsh Government, part of a wider Welsh Government ‘Local Places for Nature’ programme committed to creating, restoring and enhancing nature ‘on your doorstep’ and The National Lottery Heritage Fund.

To apply for a free garden pack, visit the Keep Wales Tidy website

15 Millionth Wales funded tree planted in Uganda

The Mbale Trees project – funded by the long-standing Wales and Africa programme – aims to plant over 3 million trees a year in the hilly, heavily deforested area of eastern Uganda in a bid to increase community resilience to the impacts of climate change.

Working with Size of Wales and the Mount Elgon Tree Growing Enterprise (METGE), free tree seedlings are distributed to local people to be planted on smallholdings and land in the community, along with fuel efficient stoves and advice and support for other livelihoods, like bee-keeping.

The project links with the Welsh Government’s Plant! Scheme, planting two trees for every child born or adopted in Wales – one planted in Uganda and one planted here in Wales.

In recent years Mbale has been affected by heavy rainfall and fatal landslides, caused by a combination of climate change and excessive logging due to poor enforcement of protection laws and a growing population.

Fast-growing trees protect local people from the effects of soil erosion and fruit grown offers a sustainable source of food and an extra income.

The 10 millionth tree milestone was achieved in autumn 2019, with First Minister Mark Drakeford marking the occasion by planting a tree in Cardiff’s Bute Park as another was planted Uganda by a young climate change activist.

Minister for Social Justice, Jane Hutt, whose portfolio includes Wales and Africa, said:

For more than a decade Wales has developed and deepened its community-based links with sub-Sahara countries in Africa. This mutually-beneficial approach has long supported sustainable development and solidarity, of which we can be justifiably proud. On top of planting 15 million trees – a fantastic achievement in itself – Wales has helped to protect an area of tropical rainforest twice the size of Wales and supported 16,000 families across 30 villages who may have otherwise faced severe hardship.

Minister for Climate Change, Julie James, said:

The Mbale Trees initiative is an example of what can be achieved when nations work together to combat climate change. Our pledge to plant 3 million more every year for the next 5 years will deliver substantial benefits, not just for those within Mbale, but it will have a considerable global impact on climate change. This flagship scheme is another example of Wales leading the way in sustainable development and action on climate change, for all.

Director of Size of Wales, Nicola Pulman, said:

We are delighted to have hit the landmark of 15 million trees. It is a testament to the hard work of the communities and local organisations in Mbale who have worked tirelessly to make it happen. Every tree grown benefits the local area, but also helps strengthen our planet’s resilience to the threat of climate change. We therefore encourage everyone in Wales to support the programme in its next phase and help us reach our ultimate goal of 25 million trees by 2025.

Godfrey Natwaluma, Programme Manager at the Mount Elgon Tree Growing Enterprise (METGE), said:

We are proud Mount Elgon Tree Growing Enterprise has supported over 30,000 households in 6 districts to plant trees. These districts have all previously experienced the devastating landslides. Since 2010, we have at least distributed 15 million trees and counting and we are optimistic that by the year 2025, we shall have supported our target communities with 25million trees. Our technical field team, through implementing partners, have been in position to monitor the production process of tree seedlings right away from a network of 45 community tree nursery beds that we have as an organization, and we plan to expand the project to further regions.

Wales Declares Nature Emergency

This follows recent international research showing the fragility of many of our ecosystems with more than a million species at risk of extinction due to pressures including habitat loss, pollution, invasive non-native species and climate change. This declaration will put Welsh Government action on nature on a par with climate change in terms of urgency and significance.

We know that this growing concern for the state of nature – or our ecological foundations – is shared by our members which is why we are pleased to offer a free place to all our members on our new eco-literacy course, Nabod Natur- Nature Wise.

Aimed at explaining the global nature crisis in an accessible way, the course provides an overview of the intricate way that ecosystems function to sustain life. It then explores the links between human activity and the disruption in natural cycles that we are experiencing. The course also covers national and international frameworks for nature recovery as well as practical steps that are being encouraged or pioneered.

Most important to us, the course creates the space for participants to apply course knowledge and concepts to their own lives, identifying the ways most useful and beneficial to them to act for nature recovery in their organisation, at home and in the community. We look forward to you joining us!

You can find out more about the announcement on the BBC website – Senedd Live

First Open Course: 20 and 22 July: 2 x online sessions with optional self-directed study in between. Total time commitment 5-6 hours. Cost: £85 per learner with discounts for group bookings.
To book your place or discuss bespoke training for your organisation – please contact

Give nature a helping hand. Hundreds of new free garden packages available to communities

Last year, more than 500 gardens were created, restored and enhanced through Local Places for Nature. Community groups and organisations of all shapes and sizes got involved – from disability charities and youth groups to social enterprises and carer groups. 

Applications have now reopened, and communities are being urged to get involved early to avoid missing out. You can choose from small-scale fruit and herb, pollinator and urban gardens, or larger-scale wildlife and food growing gardens.   

Deputy Chief Executive for Keep Wales Tidy Louise Tambini said: 

“Over the past year, more people than ever have come to appreciate the value of nature on their doorstep. But urgent action must be taken to give reverse its decline. That’s why we’re so excited to reopen applications for Local Places for Nature.  

“Thanks to the ongoing support of Welsh Government and our partners, hundreds of new gardens will be taking shape across the country over the next few months.” 

The initiative is part of a wider Welsh Government ‘Local Places for Nature’ fund committed to creating, restoring and enhancing nature ‘on your doorstep’. 

Minister for Climate Change Julie James said:  

The pandemic has given us all a greater appreciation of nature and the way in which it underpins our health, economy and wider wellbeing. 

“The environment will be at the heart of our new government’s decision making, so I am delighted that we can continue to support our communities to do their bit to help out our plants, birds and pollinators across Wales. I encourage you to get together to take advantage of this funding so you can give nature a helping hand.” 

Hundreds of free garden packages are available. To apply, visit the Keep Wales Tidy website  

Wales Nature Week is coming! 29 May – 6 June 2021

One of the key messages emerging from lockdown has been a heightened awareness – or perhaps renewed appreciation – of the importance and benefits of nature. Gardens, parks, walks along open spaces, even balconies to experience bird song or rooms with a view of woodland or hedgerows have all been embraced, with growing recognition that these are not just nice-to-have backdrops but something fundamental to our well-being – anchors in daily life that restore and revive us.

If this rings true for you, and you have also found nature to be a soothing and restorative presence, then there is an opportunity to repay some of this natural bounty, and even help it spread, through Wales Nature Week, starting at the end of May.

Wales Nature Week is an annual celebration of the often overlooked but nonetheless incredible habitats and species of Wales. Temperate rainforests, globally significant seabird populations, insects and spiders found nowhere else in the world – these are all on our doorstep, alongside species recently re-introduced or coming back from the brink such as beavers, pine martens and red squirrels.

Through its virtual programme, which includes a participative Garden BioBlitz, Wales Nature Week shines a light each day on different habitat types and the species they support. There will also be helpful tips and support from a community of experts for anyone curious to learn more, particularly about how we as individuals can give back to nature in our homes or workplaces.

As the amount of land left to wilderness and wildlife shrinks, our collective potential contribution to nature recovery, as citizens, homeowners and inhabitants of work premises, becomes increasingly important. We explore this, and other contributions that individuals and organisations can make to nature restoration, in our new training course, Nature Wise – Nabod Natur, which we will launch on World Environment Day on 5 June.

If you want to learn more about the links between human activity and ecosystem disruption and develop the knowledge to enable you and your organisation to take action for nature recovery, then we hope that this will be the course for you. Please get in touch if you’d like to know more.

In the meantime however, for more insights into how anyone can take practical actions to help nature thrive, take a look at the Environmental Volunteering resource on our site and remember to sit back, recharge, re-energise and give back through logging in to Wales Nature Week.

Sustainable Academy Awards

The Awards recognise the amazing people, projects and initiatives that are contributing towards the seven National Well-being Goals and the five Ways of Working described in the Well-being Future Generations Act.

With collaboration and connection at the heart of the celebration, the annual Awards Ceremony brings together a diverse audience of businesses, charities and third sector organisations.

170 people attended the 2019 Awards Celebration at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff.

In 2019 over 12,000 individual votes were received across the 24 finalists voting profiles.

The Awards take place each year at the end of November, where we announce the winners from each category.

The Awards were developed in partnership by Cynnal Cymru and RenewableUK Cymru. The Awards were held for the first time in 2018, and are a fusion of the Cynnal Cymru Sustain Wales Awards and the Wales Green Energy Awards, organised by RenewableUK Cymru.

Sponsorship Opportunities

There are a number of excellent sponsorship opportunities to sponsor categories and various aspects of the event.  To find out more details about what is available, please get in contact with

A Guide to the Well-being of Future Generations Act

It will make the public bodies listed in the Act think more about the long-term, work better with people and communities and each other, look to prevent problems and take a more joined-up approach.

Cynnal Cymru – Sustain Wales is the leading organisation for sustainable development in Wales. Our mission is to make Wales the first Sustainable Nation. Cynnal Cymru’s overall focus is on developing and promoting a sustainable, resource-efficient and low-carbon society through engagement with enterprises, the third sector and communities. We connect local and national organisations together from across Wales to help each other develop more sustainable solutions and deliver on the Well-being of Future Generations Act. This will help us to create a Wales that we all want to live in, now and in the future.

To make sure we are all working towards the same vision, the Act puts in place seven well-being goals.

Sustainable Development Principle and Ways of Working

The Act puts in place a ‘sustainable development principle’ which tells organisations how to go about meeting their duty under the Act.

There are five things that public bodies need to think about to show that they have applied the sustainable development principle. Following these ways of working will help us work together better, avoid repeating past mistakes and tackle some of the long-term challenges we are facing.

Why do we need this law?

Wales faces a number of challenges now and in the future, such as climate change, poverty, health inequalities and jobs and growth. To tackle these we need to work together. To give our children and grandchildren a good quality of life we need to think about how the decisions we make now will impact them. This law will make sure that our public sector does this.

More information

For a summary of the Act see a copy of the booklet ‘The Essentials’.

You can find out more about the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act on the the Welsh Government website.

Friends of the Earth Cymru launch Wales Climate Action Plan


Friends of the Earth Cymru have launched a Climate Action Plan for Wales which calls for a green and fair recovery for people and communities.

The plan’s recommendations include:

  •  prioritising vulnerable communities
  •  investing in a green economy to create job opportunities
  • transforming the transport system
  • legislating to clean our air.

Friends of the Earth Cymru also recommend that Wales should follow New Zealand’s example and replace Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as the measure of progress and focus instead on living standards and wellbeing.

Haf Elgar, Director, Friends of the Earth Cymru, said

“Wales is at a critical crossroads in its history and needs to address multiple emergencies right now – COVID-19 recovery, the climate and ecological emergencies and ongoing inequalities in our nation. This Climate Action Plan looks at what Wales can do to address these multiple emergencies and improve living standards for people and the planet.

“Quite rightly, Wales is proud of the Well-being of Future Generations Act 3, which is making a long-lasting, positive change to current and future generations, and it will be needed more than ever with the COVID-19 pandemic.

“But we must do more to make our economy and society work for people and planet, and that’s why it’s time to take the next step and use wellbeing rather than GDP to measure progress. There is so much we can learn from New Zealand and we should develop a Living Standards Framework for Wales.”4

Other recommendations include creating green job opportunities and eradicating fuel poverty. The Institute for Welsh Affairs has identified how Wales could produce all the energy it needs from renewables by 2035, creating thousands of jobs. Investing in areas which will have a positive impact on our environment such as cycling and public transport, nature restoration and home efficiency could significantly add to this. Fixing the two-thirds of Welsh homes which are poorly insulated will not only create jobs in every part of the country but will also bring much needed health benefits.

Wales should prioritise investment and resources into protecting our most vulnerable communities, whether that’s vulnerability to the type of flooding seen earlier this year, to the heatwaves which are happening more frequently, or those most at risk from COVID-19.

Keeping the nation’s lungs and hearts healthy is vital in the context of coronavirus. Friends of the Earth Cymru is also calling for A Clean Air Act for Wales as soon as possible for the sake of our health and to reduce climate emissions.5

Another key recommendation is to guarantee that those without a car are not left behind, by introducing service standards to improve public transport, and transforming the nation’s walking and cycling infrastructure, to combat the climate crisis.6

Friends of the Earth Cymru call for Wales to be a shining example, once again, by putting the environment, sustainability and fairness at the heart of our economy and COVID-19 recovery plan.[:cy]

Mae Cyfeillion y Ddaear Cymru wedi lansio Cynllun Gweithredu Hinsawdd i Gymru sy’n galw am adferiad gwyrdd a theg i bobl a chymunedau.

Lawrlwythwch y Cynllun Gweithredu Hinsawdd i Gymru

Mae argymhellion y cynllun yn cynnwys:

  • blaenoriaethu cymunedau sy’n agored i niwed
  • buddsoddi mewn economi werdd i greu cyfleoedd gwaith
  • trawsnewid y system drafnidiaeth
  • deddfu i lanhau ein haer.

Hefyd, Cyfeillion y Ddaear Cymru eisiau i Gymru yn ddilyn esiampl Seland Newydd a disodli Cynnyrch Mewnwladol Crynswth (GDP) fel mesur cynnydd a chanolbwyntio yn hytrach ar safonau byw a llesiant.

Dywedodd Haf Elgar, Cyfarwyddwr Cyfeillion y Ddaear Cymru :

“Mae Cymru ar groesffordd hollbwysig yn ei hanes ac mae angen iddi fynd i’r afael â sawl argyfwng ar hyn o bryd – adferiad COVID-19, yr argyfyngau hinsawdd ac ecolegol, ac anghydraddoldebau parhaus yn ein cenedl.

“Mae’r Cynllun Gweithredu Hinsawdd hwn yn edrych ar yr hyn y gall Cymru ei wneud i fynd i’r afael â’r amryw argyfyngau hyn a gwella safonau byw i bobl a’r blaned.

“Mae Cymru’n falch o Ddeddf Llesiant Cenedlaethau’r Dyfodol, sy’n gwneud newid cadarnhaol a pharhaol i genedlaethau’r presennol a’r dyfodol, a bydd ei angen yn fwy nag erioed gyda’r pandemig COVID-19

“Ond mae’n rhaid i ni wneud mwy i wneud i’n heconomi a’n cymdeithas weithio i bobl a’r blaned, a dyna pam mae’n bryd cymryd y cam nesaf a defnyddio llesiant yn hytrach na GDP i fesur cynnydd.

“Mae cymaint y gallwn ei ddysgu gan Seland Newydd a dylem ddatblygu Fframwaith Safonau Byw i Gymru.”


Mae argymhellion eraill yn cynnwys creu cyfleoedd gwaith gwyrdd a chael gwared ar dlodi tanwydd. Mae’r Sefydliad Materion Cymreig wedi nodi sut y gallai Cymru gynhyrchu’r holl ynni sydd ei angen arni o ynni adnewyddadwy erbyn 2035, gan greu miloedd o swyddi.

Gallai buddsoddi mewn ardaloedd a fydd yn cael effaith gadarnhaol ar ein hamgylchedd fel beicio a thrafnidiaeth gyhoeddus, adfer natur ac effeithlonrwydd cartrefi ychwanegu’n sylweddol at hyn. Bydd cyweirio y ddau draean o gartrefi Cymru sydd wedi’u hinswleiddio’n wael nid yn unig yn creu swyddi ym mhob rhan o’r wlad, ond hefyd yn dod â manteision iechyd y mae mawr eu hangen.

Dylai Cymru flaenoriaethu buddsoddiad ac adnoddau i ddiogelu ein cymunedau mwyaf bregus, boed hynny’n agored i niwed i’r math o lifogydd a welwyd eleni, i’r tywydd poeth sy’n digwydd yn amlach, neu’r rhai sydd fwyaf tebygol o gael COVID-19.

Mae cadw ysgyfaint a chalonnau’r genedl yn iach yn hanfodol yng nghyd-destun COVID-19. Mae Cyfeillion y Ddaear Cymru hefyd yn galw am Ddeddf Aer Glân i Gymru cyn gynted â phosibl er mwyn ein hiechyd ac i leihau gollyngiadau hinsawdd.

Argymhelliad allweddol arall yw gwarantu nad yw’r rheini sydd heb gar yn cael eu gadael ar ôl, drwy gyflwyno safonau gwasanaeth i wella trafnidiaeth gyhoeddus, a thrawsnewid seilwaith cerdded a beicio’r genedl, i fynd i’r afael â’r argyfwng yn yr hinsawdd.6

Mae Cyfeillion y Ddaear Cymru yn galw ar Gymru i fod yn enghraifft wych, unwaith eto, drwy roi’r amgylchedd, cynaliadwyedd a thegwch wrth wraidd ein heconomi a chynllun adfer COVID-19.[:]

Keep Wales Tidy Call for Applications for New Places for Nature on Everyone’s Doorstep

[:en]Hundreds of new nature garden projects are in the pipeline across Wales with applications for many more invited

Keep Wales Tidy is delighted to be reopening applications for its Local Places for Nature initiative. With many of us limited to our immediate locality during lockdown, there has never been a better time to consider how our community areas can be improved for nature.

A choice of pre-paid garden packages are being offered to local community groups and town and community councils to transform a space in their local area. Groups and potential applicants are being asked to make best use of their time at home, by submitting an application. Keep Wales Tidy staff are on hand to help.

The first assessment panel was impressed with the quality and variety of applications from across Wales and were happy to award:

  • 101 Butterfly gardens
  • 44 Fruit gardens
  • 71 Wildlife gardens

Check out the map to see where all the gardens will be across Wales

  • Tredegar Town Council in Blaenau Gwent will be developing a butterfly garden to enhance the Sirhowy Community Garden and provide a tranquil space for the whole community.
  • Conwy Arts Trust will be creating a fruit garden at Venue Cymru in Llandudno as a pilot project to develop magical areas that can be used to inspire creativity.
  • Riverside in Cardiff has very little accessible green space and Keep Riverside Tidy will be creating a butterfly garden which will enhance nature for the local community.
  • A wildlife garden in Dinas Mawddwy will be used by Plannwch y Plas to engage and involve the local community with nature and growing.
  • Mumbles Community Council will be sprucing up Jubilee Gardens with their wildlife garden package and making it into a pleasant place to sit and enjoy nature.


The safety of staff and volunteers is of the utmost importance, so no practical work has started to date. However, Keep Wales Tidy are making plans as to how they might deliver some activities safely when government guidelines allow.


Deputy Chief Executive for Keep Wales Tidy, Louise Tambini said:

Through these difficult times the value of nature and accessible green space has never been more recognisable and important to our communities. It has been heartening to see so many people volunteering to help others through the COVID-19 pandemic and we would encourage you to continue volunteering and join the Local Places for Nature initiative to create new, accessible spaces for wildlife in your local community. It is easy to apply, and applicants will be supported to install their new gardens safely within social distancing and government guidelines, only when it is safe to do so. We look forward to starting practical work when regulations are eased “.


Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths MS said:

‘’We have all seen how important nature is for our mental well-being. Our £5m Local Places for Nature programme encourages communities to get involved with creating nature ‘on their doorsteps’. We are delighted that Keep Wales Tidy are accepting applications again, in readiness for when projects can begin. Currently we are all staying at home, to protect the NHS and save lives. But as conditions allow and when safety can be assured, I hope volunteers across Wales will be involved in these local projects to restore and enhance nature.


The initiative is part of a wider £5m Welsh Government ‘Local Places for Nature’ fund committed to acquiring, restoring and enhancing nature ‘on your doorstep’.

Visit the Keep Wales Tidy website for further information about the Local Places for Nature initiative[:]

Scroll to Top