Natural Environment

Low carbon lessons from nature

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We can learn so much from nature. To find out what we can learn to help create a low carbon future we have decided to explore current research in the first of our two day event. Experts will present low carbon solutions from nature for urban regeneration and well-being, watershed management and ecosystem restoration, marine renewables, chemistry, natural capital and blue-green urban infrastructure.

The second day will examine the ‘internet of energy’, a greener, more reliable, and more efficient power supply. Research has already revealed opportunities for industry and the public sector to embrace new technologies to bring about a low carbon sustainable society.

We want more people to understand and contribute to a low carbon Wales and so this event is free to attend, thanks to the sponsorship of the Sêr Cymru National Research Network for Low Carbon, Energy and Environment (NRN-LCEE).

6 & 7 July | Low Carbon Cymru Conference

Day 1: Nature-Based Solutions for a low carbon Wales
Speakers include:

  • Dr Nicola Beaumont, Plymouth Marine Laboratory
  • Professor Ian Bryden, University of the Highlands and Islands
  • Professor Čedo Maksimović, Imperial College London
  • Dr Luise Noring, Copenhagen Business School
  • Professor Peter Pearson, Imperial College London
  • Professor Carolyn Roberts, Gresham College
  • Dr Duncan Macquarrie, Green Chemistry Centre of Excellence, University of York

You can follow this link to find out more about the speakers.

Day 2: Smart Grid, Smart Living

Speakers include:

  • Mike Pedley, Head of Energy at Dwr Cymru/Welsh Water
  • Steven Edwards, Director of Regulation and Commercial at Wales and West Utilities
  • Professor Alan Guwy, Head of the Sustainable Environment Research Centre (SERC) at University of South Wales
  • Professor Iain Donnison, Leader of the Agriculture and Environmental Sciences at Aberystwyth University
  • Tim James, Energy Manager at Port of Milford Haven
  • Paul Jones from SPECIFIC
  • Ivo Spreeuwenberg, National Grid
  • Phil Bowen, Cardiff University
  • Jon Maddy, South Wales University
  • Jianzhong Wu, Cardiff University
  • Ian Masters, Swansea University

The conference is free to attend but pre-registration through Ticketsource for day 1 and day 2 is mandatory.

Please click here to register for Day 1
Please click here to register for Day 2

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Snowdonia National Park Authority – Eryri and Hiraethog Peatland Restoration Project

[:en]Snowdonia National Park Authority (SNPA) was formed in 1951 and is the largest National Park in Wales. Snowdonia National Park Authority’s aims to conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the area; promote opportunities to understand and enjoy its special qualities; and foster the economic and social wellbeing of its communities.

In the winter of 2012/2013, Snowdonia National Park Authority, in conjunction with the Countryside Council for Wales (now Natural Resources Wales) and a private landowner, embarked on an ambitious project to restore over 33 hectares of peatland at Rhyd Ddu, Beddgelert. The £35,000 project, which was funded by the Welsh Government’s Ecosystems Resilience and Diversity Fund, focussed around the foothills of the Snowdonia mountain range, the Eryri and Hiraethog Peatland Restoration Project aims to conserve and restore peat rich habitats, thus protecting the key services which they provide to society. These include carbon sequestration, water regulation and sustainable agriculture. In addition, the work ensures that the biodiversity of these areas continue to flourish so that they continue to be enjoyed by people for future generations.

In an area where rural poverty is a real issue, it is vital that upland areas are sustainably managed to provide economic benefits to local communities whilst ensuring that the key ecosystem services which they deliver are not compromised.

The project hopes to reinstate the ecological integrity of the site so that it can once again provide the ecosystem services it once did, in addition to the ecological benefits. These include:

  • Improving water quality within the catchment by acting as a natural filter and reducing the amount of sediment entering adjacent watercourses;
  • Reduce peak flow rates lower down the valley by retaining water during periods of heavy rainfall and releasing water during periods of drought;
  • Ensuring that the bog remains a net sink of carbon by re-wetting the land, preventing the oxidisation of the peat and thus the release of carbon back into the atmosphere and promoting capture of further carbon.

A big part of the project includes the involvement of the local communities to raise awareness of the work that is being undertaken and explain the aims of the project. Some of the groups involved with the project include pupils from Ysgol Dyffryn Nantlle and volunteers from Snowdonia Society.

Peter Jones, Natural Resources Wales member of the multi-agency Welsh Peatlands Action Group said:

“Restoring peatlands is essential. If all carbon in peatlands was to be lost to the atmosphere it would be equivalent to almost 15 years’ worth of Wales’s total CO2 emissions – or 97 years’ worth of COemissions from Welsh agriculture and land use… Peatlands harbour a wealth of rare plants and wildlife – birds such as curlew and golden plover as well as rare insects and plants. They also help store water which can reduce the risk of flooding in lower lying areas. And they help purify our water supplies.”

Over fifty per cent of Wales’s semi-natural peatland habitats are now being managed in a sustainable way, helping to lock in carbon that could otherwise be released into the atmosphere contributing to climate change. The Welsh Government’s target for peat restoration covers around three quarters of Wales’s total peat area. If fully restored, emissions would be reduced by around 168,000 tonnes every year.[:cy]Ffurfiwyd Awdurdod Parc Cenedlaethol Eryri yn 1951, y trydydd mewn maint o’r 15 Parc Cenedlaethol yn y DU a’r Parc Cenedlaethol mwyaf yng Nghymru. Nod Awdurdod Parc Cenedlaethol Eryri yw diogelu a gwella harddwch naturiol, bywyd gwyllt a threftadaeth ddiwylliannol yr ardal; hybu cyfleoedd i ddeall a mwynhau ei nodweddion arbennig, a meithrin budd economaidd a chymdeithasol ei gymunedau.

Yng ngaeaf 2012/2013, cychwynnodd Awdurdod Parc Cenedlaethol Eryri, ar y cyd â Chyngor Cefn Gwlad Cymru (Cyfoeth Naturiol Cymru yn awr) a thirfeddiannwr preifat, brosiect uchelgeisiol i adfer dros 33 hectar o fawndir yn Rhyd Ddu, Beddgelert. Gan ganolbwyntio ar odre bryniau cadwyn mynyddoedd Eryri gobaith Prosiect Adfer Mawndir Eryri a Hiraethog, gwerth £35,000, a gyllidwyd gan Gronfa Cydnerthedd ac Amrywiaeth Ecosystemau, yw diogelu ac adfer cynefinoedd, cyfoethog mewn mawndir, a thrwy hynny amddiffyn y gwasanaethau allweddol y maent yn eu cyfrannu i gymdeithas.  Mae’r rhain yn cynnwys dal a storio carbon, rheoleiddio dŵr ac amaeth cynaliadwy. Hefyd, mae’r gwaith yn sicrhau bod bioamrywiaeth yr ardaloedd hyn yn parhau i ffynnu fel y byddant yn parhau i gael eu  mwynhau gan y cenedlaethau sydd i ddod.

Mewn ardal lle mae tlodi’n broblem wirioneddol, mae’n hollbwysig bod ardaloedd yr ucheldir yn cael eu rheoli mewn dull cynaliadwy i roi manteision economaidd i gymunedau lleol tra’n sicrhau nad yw’r ecosystemau allweddol a ddarperir ganddynt yn cael eu cyfaddawdu.

Mae’r prosiect yn gobeithio ailsefydlu integriti ecolegol y safle fel y gall unwaith eto ddarparu’r gwasanaethau ecosystem a arferai ei wneud, yn ychwanegol at fanteision ecolegol. Mae’r rhain yn cynnwys:

  • Gwella ansawdd y dŵr yn y dalgylch drwy weithredu fel hidlydd naturiol a lleihau swm y gwaddod sy’n mynd i mewn i’r cyrsiau dŵr cyfagos;
  • Lleihau cyfraddau anterth llif ymhellach i lawr y dyffryn drwy ddal gafael ar ddŵr pan fydd hi’n bwrw glaw yn drwm a gollwng dŵr yn ystod y cyfnodau sych;
  • Sicrhau bod y gors yn parhau i fod yn ddalfa net o garbon drwy ail-wlychu’r tir, atal ocsideiddiad y mawn ac felly rhyddhau carbon yn ôl i’r atmosffer a hybu dal rhagor o garbon.

Mae rhan fawr o’r prosiect yn cynnwys ymgyfraniad cymunedau lleol, i godi ymwybyddiaeth o’r gwaith sy’n cael ei wneud ac egluro amcanion y prosiect. Mae rhai o’r grwpiau sy’n cymryd rhan yn y prosiect yn cynnwys disgyblion o Ysgol Dyffryn Nantlle a gwirfoddolwyr o Gymdeithas Eryri a helpodd i lenwi rhai o’r ffosydd oedd yn weddill gan ddefnyddio offer llaw fel rhawiau mawn a matogau.

Dywedodd Peter Jones, aelod Cyfoeth Naturiol Cymru ar y Grŵp aml-asiantaeth Gweithredu Mawndiroedd Cymru:

“Mae adfer mawndiroedd yn hollbwysig. Petai’r holl garbon mewn mawndiroedd yn cael ei golli i’r atmosffer byddai’n gyfartal i bron holl allyriadau CO2 Cymru dros gyfnod o 15 mlynedd – neu 97 mlynedd o allyriadau CO2 o amaeth Cymru a defnydd tir. “

Mae dros bum deg y cant o gynefinoedd mawndir lled-naturiol yn awr yn cael eu rheoli mewn dull cynaliadwy, gan helpu i gloi carbon i mewn a fyddai fel arall yn cael ei ollwng i’r atmosffer gan gyfrannu at y newid yn yr hinsawdd. Mae targed Llywodraeth Cymru ar gyfer adfer mawndir yn cynnwys tua thri chwarter o holl ardal mawndir Cymru. Petai’n cael ei adfer yn llwyr, byddai allyriadau’n cael eu lleihau o ryw 168,000 tunnell fetrig y flwyddyn.[:]

Sustainability celebrated at Sustain Wales Awards

[:en]Cynnal Cymru – Sustain Wales’ inaugural Sustain Wales Awards ceremony was held at the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff last night to an audience of national and international businesses and champions of sustainability in Wales. The Awards are to celebrate and highlight the excellent work being done in Wales and the evening was filled with entertainment from actor and host, Rhodri Hugh Thomas.

Hallam Amos, Wales international Rugby Union and Newport Gwent Dragons player, opened the awards and outlined his strong interest in sustainability and the benefits that sport can bring to society. Amos believes that culture is an important part of sustainability and in Wales sport plays a huge part in our culture – rugby in particular.

Welsh Water – Dwr Cymru, as the main sponsor, was joined by a host of category and ceremony sponsors including; Melin Homes, The Open University, Pick Everard, Interserve, LivEco, IntroBiz, The Welsh Rugby Union/Wales Millennium Stadium, The University of Wales Trinity St David, the Wales Millennium Centre and Yoke Creative.

Peter Davies, Commissioner for Sustainable Futures, was presented with the special award of Sustainability Champion by Jane Davidson on behalf of the University of Wales Trinity St David. Peter Davies said “I was honoured and surprised to receive an award last night. It was a great evening and I am pleased to see recognition for the work done by individuals, organisations and communities in this field. It is important that we share what people are doing and thank those that are leading the way in improving Wales for future generations[:]

Emergence – Eginiad: Creative practice for a sustainable future

Having staged three major conferences together in 2010/11, Volcano and Cynnal Cymru have taken the initiative in two parallel directions. Volcano is leading an examination of how the concept of sustainable development informs and influences the creative process and artistic practice while Cynnal Cymru convened a partnership involving (the development body for theatres and arts centres in Wales), BRASS and Julie’s Bicycle to address sustainable development in the context of the built environment and theatre estate. The Creu Cymru project has gathered a data baseline of the environmental impacts of 42 venues around Wales. From this baseline, working with a pilot group, the project will provide tools and support to enable theatres and venues to improve their environmental performance and influence the behaviours of audiences, staff, suppliers and business partners.

The then proposed Welsh Government Sustainable Development Bill (now the Well-being of Future Generations Act) provided a context for this project. This legislation will place a statutory duty upon public bodies in Wales to adopt the concept of sustainable development as the central organising principle upon which all organisational decisions are made and to provide evidence on how this is implemented in practice.

Many Creu Cymru members are part of a local authority structure and most are in receipt of Arts Council funding. In both these respects they can assume that the Bill will have an impact upon them. The project helped to provide Creu Cymru members with the means and data to demonstrate compliance in advance of The Bill’s implementation.

View and download: Creative practice for a sustainable future Compiled and curated by Fern Smith and Rhodri Thomas

Emergence is an initiative by Cynnal Cymru-Sustain Wales developed and presented in partnership with Volcano Theatre with the support of The Arts Council of Wales and British Council.

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