A MAJOR new scheme which aims to empower communities to bring nature ‘to your doorstep’ and help halt and reverse the decline in nature was launched by Welsh government today.
In partnership with Keep Wales Tidy, over 800 pre-paid ‘Starter packages’ are being made available to communities across Wales.
The packages include items like native plants and seeds, peat-free compost, tools and even bug and bee hotels.
Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths commented on the scheme: “The latest evidence shows biodiversity in Wales is declining.
“Since 1970 there is less wildlife and in fewer places. If we are going to tackle the nature crisis we need our ecosystems to be as resilient as possible.
“We all need to act and we need to act now.
“I know the enthusiasm exists right across Wales to help nature’s recovery.
“There is so much great work already going on but people often tell me they don’t know where to start or where to get advice and support.
“I’m delighted, therefore, to launch ‘Local Places for Nature’, part of our wider commitment to making it easy for everyone to protect, restore and enhance the wildlife on our doorsteps and all around us.”
Starter packages will include all materials needed to create a community nature area, guidance on how to install it and Keep Wales Tidy officer time to provide advice and support.
Of the 801 starter packages there will be 267 of each type available:
- 267 x Butterfly Gardens – The package will include bright, aromatic, nectar-rich plants e.g. lavender, honeysuckle, tools, compost, border/trellis, and a planting plan with dimensions and guidance document on how to manage the site long-term.
- 267 x Fruit Gardens – The package will include fruit trees, soft fruit bushes, cane fruit and strawberries. It will also include native wildflower seeds so pollinator-friendly flowers can be grown, hand tools, compost, tree guards, netting and guidance.
- 267 x Wildlife Gardens – The package will include wildlife boxes, native wildflower seeds, climbing plants (e.g. clematis and honeysuckle) and trellis, compost and hand tools. There will be guidance on management, advice on why it is important to let grass grow and other ways to garden for wildlife.
In addition to the Starter packages, a further 66 ‘Development packages’, will be made available for particularly ambitious communities.
These will enable them to create larger-scale projects such as a sustainable urban drainage scheme, a community food-growing place or a nature space.
Keep Wales Tidy will make it easy for almost any group to deliver a ‘Local Place for Nature’.
This could be a community group, a place of worship or a residents’ association.
They do not need a bank account or a constitution and there is no long application form.
All they need to do is find a place for nature, have permission of the landowner, get together a group of volunteers and apply.
Keep Wales Tidy will book a date and bring all the required equipment.
The Keep Wales Tidy Starter and Development packages form part of a wider £5m Welsh Government ‘Local Places for Nature’ fund, committed to acquiring, restoring and enhancing nature ‘on your doorstep’.
Louise Tambini from Keep Wales Tidy said: “Urgent action must be taken if we are going to reverse the decline of nature in Wales.
“We’re excited communities across the country now have the opportunity to make a real difference through the Local Places for Nature initiative.
“We’d like to thank Welsh Government and partners for their support in making this possible.
“We’re looking forward to seeing hundreds of new ‘places for nature’ taking shape over the next few months.”