As I travelled to Machynlleth over the mountain road and home via the A470, I enjoyed the scenery and wildlife of Mid Wales in midsummer. I was in the Dyfi valley to chair a meeting about the ‘Summit to Sea’ project, which is an initiative to ‘restore flourishing ecosystems and a resilient local economy’ in an area from ‘the Pumlumon Massif down through the Dyfi Estuary and out into Cardigan bay’.

The project director, Melanie Newton, joined the meeting to outline its aims. There is funding of £3.4 million over five years to underpin the work. It has been donated by the Arcadia fund, which is sponsored by the people who developed Tetra Pak. It is being delivered through the ‘Endangered Landscape Programme’ formalised within Cambridge University and is a scheme under the charity ‘Rewilding Britain’.

Melanie explained that 10 non-governmental organisations, from Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust to the Marine Conservation Society, have agreed to collaborate in the project. It will also be necessary for farmers and landowners to join the project so that the suggested 10,000ha in the scheme, within the total area of 28,400 hectares, is achieved.

At present there has been very little consultation with farmers in the proposed area, and although the purpose is to pay for landscape schemes, there is no outline of intended projects or remuneration.

The participants of the meeting were disappointed in the lack of engagement with farmers and communities within the proposed area. They were also very worried about the participation of the charity ‘Rewilding Britain’, as although the aim of this body is to restore ecosystems, it also seeks to reinstate missing species. It was felt that the project is being introduced and steered by bodies outside Wales without consulting the local inhabitants.

Finally, as usual, there is no recognition of the work farmers have, and are continuing to undertake, to enhance the environment and increase biodiversity whilst at the same time producing food.