A PROJECT aiming to tackle the depth of environmental issues concerning the River Wye in Radnorshire has received nearly half a million pound in funding.

The Wye Adapt to Climate Change project has been given £462,000 from the National Lottery Community Fund to support farmers and communities to adapt to climate change within the River Wye catchment.

The project is a partnership between the Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Partnership, Radnorshire Wildlife Trust and Herefordshire Wildlife Trust, and will focus on recovering nature and creating a climate-resilient landscape within the Wye catchment in Radnorshire, as well as in Herefordshire and smaller areas of Gloucestershire and Monmouthshire.

James Hitchcock, CEO of the Radnorshire Wildlife Trust (RWT), said: “The Radnorshire Wildlife Trust is delighted to receive this funding and to be working in partnership across the catchment on what is the issue of our area and our time.


“Rarely does a week go by without the River Wye being in the news. We have seen some really saddening statistics on the current state of the river.

“Thankfully, the solutions to climate change and the measures for adaption will also help the overall health of the river. We are really looking forward to working with farmers, members and communities with this project.”

Nick Critchley, of the Wye Valley AONB, added: “The landscape of the lower Wye Valley, as with the rest of the country, is seeing first-hand the impacts of climate change.

“Extremes in weather are leading to periods of prolonged wet as well as dry, which are providing significant challenges to those who manage the land and the habitats our wildlife depend upon.

“An integrated landscape-scale approach such as this will lead to more resilient networks and habitats, improving the adaptive capacity of the countryside for the benefit of the people and wildlife who depend upon it. We are very pleased to be a partner in this project.”

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Significant changes to weather and climate in recent years have impacted people, wildlife and the environment. Recent long-running summer droughts have led to water shortages, an increase in water abstraction, reduced food production, a decrease in crop resilience, loss of wildlife in once thriving habitats, fish kills and damaging algae blooms in our rivers, as well as longer term damage to soil structure.

Winter rainfall in recent years has been very erratic, leading to sudden increases in river levels, widespread flash flooding in towns and rural areas and destruction of important river habitats.

The funding will see the three partner organisations work together to provide landowners and communities with the tools to adapt to the impacts of this changing climate and weather patterns. The project will promote the creation of community climate action networks to support local communities in making positive changes to adapt to the effects of a changing climate.

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Project staff will also work with landowners to explore nature-based solutions to impacts from climate change such as holding water in the landscape to use for irrigation of agricultural land and prevent flooding of housing and businesses.

Melissa Eaglesfield, deputy director at the National Lottery Community Fund, said: “We’re delighted to award more than £460,000 of National Lottery funding to the Wye Adapt to Climate Change project, which will support communities at risk of flooding from the River Wye.

“Thanks to National Lottery players, the Wye Adapt to Climate Change project will encourage farmers, landowners and the wider community to work together to create natural solutions to reduce flooding.”

Wye Adapt to Climate Change will initially run for three years with project officers based in each partner organisation who will connect with local groups, communities and landowners across the catchment.