A Machynlleth resident has been recognised by the national awards of Wales for 30 years of environmental and community work.

Andy Rowland received the 2023 Environment Champion award by the St David Awards, an annual government awards scheme which recognizes exceptional achievements by Welsh citizens, the highest accolades that the Welsh Government confers on its civilians.

The St David Awards stated that they recognised Mr Rowland for “dedicated his life to improving the communities for the people in mid Wales and promoting a growing green economy.”

In 1998, Mr Rowland established Ecodyfi, a not for profit Development Trust delivering sustainable community regeneration.


Mr Rowland said: “Ecodyfi started as a partnership between Powys County Council Dulas Ltd and the Centre for Alternative Technology in order to boost the local economy through environmental work.

“It started with renewable energy on a communal level and also the effectiveness of how to save energy, helping people to be more responsible in terms of the environment and also waste, food, transport, woodland, and a lot od different things to be honest.”

For the last 10 years Andy has provided the Secretariat at Ecodyfi for the UNESCO designated Dyfi Biosphere Reserve.

He has become instrumental in getting community initiatives in Bro Ddyfi off the ground, especially if they are concerned with improving the environment.

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He added: “We have been supporting the Dyfi Biosphere for UNESCO constantly too, and at the moment the biggest projects under the Biosphere umbrella is one that involves local food, ecological food systems and the other is well-being and health in the open air.

“For example, we are helping community gardens like the one we have here at Bro Dyffi Gardens.

“We are also helping people to train to grow vegetables commercially, and on the other side we arrange activities where people can go out into the open air in order to enjoy but also to improve their standard of living and their health.”

A spokesperson for the St David Awards said: “As a consequence of his work, Andy has contributed to Machynlleth attracting significant inward investment, supporting industries of the future, and attracting a disproportionate amount of skilled, qualified, talented, caring young people to come and live in the area.

“Fluent in English and Welsh, Andy is pioneer of promoting the understanding that when it comes to sustainability, there is no real distinction between protecting the natural heritage of Wales and its cultural heritage.”