THE FINAL stage of a major project that has seen 35,000 trees planted near Machynlleth is to begin later this month.

Natural Resources Wales has said that work to allow the removal of safety fencing on the A487 at Ceinws, near Machynlleth, will start on January 20.

The fencing was installed to protect road users from falling debris caused by forestry work as part of a hillside stabilisation project, which involved felling unstable conifer trees that grew there previously.

The fence remained in place until Natural Resources Wales officers were satisfied that the hillside had been stabilised, and the risk of debris falling onto the road had been removed.

The body said traffic management will be put in place to ensure the safe removal of the fence.

Jared Gethin, NRW project manager said: “After surveying the hillside, we are satisfied that it is safe to remove the catchfence. The new trees and vegetation have taken well and will help stabilise the ground further in the future.

“Residents and commuters in the area will remember that the work to stabilise the hillside needed traffic management to install the catchfence in advance of the felling works back in 2018. A similar arrangement will be needed to remove the catchfence, and we are hopeful that the work will be done in a timely manner to keep disruption to a minimum.

“This is the final step in the Bont Evans Tree Works and Stabilisation project. It has taken four and a half years to complete, and I would like to thank the local community and the community council for their support and understanding during this process.”

As part of the work, 35,000 native broadleaf trees have been planted on the flatter areas of the site. Tree species such as sessile oak, hawthorn, rowan and downy birch will make the area a haven for insects, birds and small mammals such as dormice. This new habitat will link up with other wildlife habitats in the Dulas Valley.

While no replanting has taken place on the steepest sections of embankment, heather and bilberry will be free to grow. This will further improve local biodiversity and will stabilise the hillside further in the future.