The Welsh Government's Climate Change Minister Julie James has "set out her determination" to further protect the internationally-important Gwent Levels.
The Minister visited the Sites of Special Scientific Interest, which make up the Gwent Levels, the day after the Senedd declared a 'nature emergency'.
The Gwent Levels
The Levels are a sprawling network of fertile pastures and historic watercourses known locally as reens. Together, these reens form part of a complex drainage system which carries run-off from waterlogged fields into tidal creeks known as pills. The water is then released at intervals into the Hafren.
The Levels are also a unique habitat to an astonishing array of wildlife— hosting one of the finest collections of aquatic invertebrates anywhere in the country. The GwentLevels are also one of the few remaining strongholds for rare species such as the shrill carder bee, the great silver water beetle, as well as world’s smallest flowering vascular plant. This fragile ecosystem also supports rare bird species, including lapwings and bitterns, as well as supporting threatened mammals such as water voles and otters, which thrive in this watery landscape.
" Vitally important"
Speaking after the visit Julie James said: “Restoring nature and mitigating the impact of climate change are top priorities for this government. We have already demonstrated this by our decision not to go ahead with the M4 Relief Road, which would have meant developing on part of the Gwent Levels and we are continuing to look for further ways to protect this important landscape.
“The Gwent Levels are vitally important – not just to this part of South Wales – but worldwide. We will work to protect them.
“This work includes looking at how the land acquired as part of the M4 project could be used to support the enhancement of the Gwent Levels.”