Farmers call for major rewilding project to be scrapped

Farmers have concerns that the £3.4m project will negatively affect livelihoods in the area
Farmers have concerns that the £3.4m project will negatively affect livelihoods in the area

Welsh farmers are calling for a major rewilding project to be scrapped as fears over its impact on rural communities heightens.

One of the biggest rewilding plans the UK aims to restore a huge swathe of land in mid Wales.

The Summit to Sea project wants to restore 10,000 hectares of land so it can support ancient trees and wildlife.

Work will get underway from the Pumlumon massif - the highest area in mid-Wales – down through wooded valleys to the Dyfi estuary.

Alongside this, rewilding 28,400 hectares of sea will also be under the project's focus.

Rewilding Britain is helping to implement the project and has received funding for over five years from the Arcadia Fund's Endangered Landscapes Programme.

But the Farmers' Union of Wales (FUW) has criticised the £3.4m proposal by saying it would affect rural communities who make a living from the land.

The FUW's head of policy, Nick Fenwick, told BBC News that the scheme is 'not good' for the economy, for communities and for the species that live there.

“It shouldn't exist - it shouldn't be here”, he said, “there's every scope for working with organisations that recognise the importance of farming and the dangers to our eco-systems of getting rid of farming from habitats in which they've operated for thousands of years.

“There's no room for working with those who wish to see land abandoned on a huge scale.”

The union will host a meeting to discuss the project and its impact on farmers in the area.

But the project insists the vision will be a 'coordinated effort' between landowners, communities and farmers.

Melanie Newton, the project director of Summit to Sea, said: “Involvement in the project is entirely voluntary, we want to help build a resilient, nature-based economy that offers more financial stability in uncertain times.”