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Significant Progress in Biodiversity in RCT

Biodiversity has become a fundamental part of what we do and plays a key part in helping to reduce our carbon footprint in tackling climate change.

The great news is, that significant progress has been made across Rhondda Cynon Taf to encourage, enhance and develop Biodiversity within the County Borough.

In a detailed report due to be submitted to RCT Council’s Climate Change Steering Group (CCSG), it outlines how the changes have made a difference locally and has even led to the discovery of a previously undiscovered population of water voles. These are one of Wales’ rarest mammals and they now appear to be thriving in RCT wet upland habitats – thanks to the ‘Lost Peatlands’ project. The project is a partnership between RCT Council and Neath Port Talbot Council, funded by a successful Heritage Lottery bid. The water voles had suffered severe population declines in their traditional lowland haunts due to habitat loss and predation by mink.

A Local Nature Partnership funded project has also been tracking the migration of nightjar, another rare species that nests in RCT. Recently, the value of peatbogs for water and carbon storage has been more widely recognised and this project is a potential demonstration project for peatbog restoration elsewhere both within RCT and more widely.

All this is in addition to the Council’s grass management policy – which aims to encourage wildflowers to grow and attract pollination.

Councillor Rhys Lewis, Cabinet Member for Stronger Communities, Well-being and Cultural Services and Climate Change Champion, said:

“As a Council we are committed to investing in our green spaces and to delivering natural carbon storage solutions such as those provided by trees, peat bogs, marshy grassland and other natural habitats across the County Borough to enhance air quality and reduce the impact of greenhouse gasses.

“Through the work of Council officers and the decisions made in the Climate Change Steering Group, we hope that we can make a real difference not just locally, but globally. Every simple change that we all make will make a big difference in our plan to become a Carbon Neutral Council and County Borough by 2030.” 

The RCT Local Nature Partnership (LNP) has secured investment of over £232,000 to include following work:

  • Enhance nature on at least 70 hectares of wildflower meadow, wetland, open space and grass verges incl. 10 ha of grassland, much of which is small, urban or roadside grassland spaces which are more difficult to access by traditional machinery.
  • 350 trees planted.
  • 120 hectares of wildflower grassland now managed.
  • Green Roof Classrooms; delivering up to 8 Green roof classrooms on school sites with little or no access to nature.
  • Let Nature Grow; Community growing area in Ynysangharad War Memorial Park and a cut and collect machine to expand on last years project.

This Fund has played a major role in enabling RCT to deliver its wildflower grass management policy through the purchase of two Amazone ‘cut and collect’ machines over the last two years - allowing more verges and grassed areas to be added to the list of sites managed for wildflowers. The smaller equipment is complementary to an existing machine which had been purchased through grant funding several years earlier. Over 300 trees have also been purchased and planted in our parks, cemeteries and recreation grounds in 2020 throughout RCT as well as current work on delivering a community garden project at Ynysangharad War Memorial Park and green-roofed outdoor classrooms for schools with little access to greenspace.

The Council’s Cabinet has further shown its commitment by recently approving an outline of the pilot of 29 sites for a Living Landscapes project in Rhondda Cynon Taf. The biodiversity rich landscapes of Rhondda Cynon Taf lie at the centre of these riches, greatly valued by local people and a fundamental part of our shared sense of culture, place and community. The Living Landscape project will allow a demonstration of the potential for sustainable land management with community involvement. The approved pilot will enable the Local Nature Partnership to engage local interest groups and the voluntary Nature Conservation NGOs in practical projects and establish their enthusiasm for on-going involvement.

The overall objective of the pilot is to demonstrate that long term sustainable management of Council owned land can be undertaken in partnership with community groups and at the same time deliver biodiversity, water management, soil conservation and carbon storage benefits to address the climate and biodiversity emergencies. If the approach is successful, further sites can be added to the network as resources become available.

Biodiversity has become an important and cross cutting component of the work of RCT Council - For more information on Biodiversity in RCT visit the dedicated web area at

Posted on 08/11/2021