In response to rising concerns over proposals contained in Rewilding Britain’s ‘Summit to Sea’ project, the project boundary of which includes around 155,000 acres of land in Ceredigion and Montgomeryshire, an open meeting was held in late July to discuss the project plans.
The 160 or so people who attended expressed major worries regarding the fact that the project was instigated and is effectively run by Rewilding Britain - a charity which wants to rewild a quarter of the UK. It was felt that the objectives of the organisation were in direct conflict with agriculture, particularly in the uplands, as well as being damaging for conservation and species which rely on sustainable agriculture.
It was also noted that considerable damage was being caused to relationships between local and agricultural communities and Summit to Sea ‘partner’ organisations such as the RSPB and the Woodland Trust - bodies which often share a great deal of common ground and common objectives with rural communities in relation to conservation.
In light of these concerns, those present voted overwhelmingly in support of a motion that Rewilding Britain should not be involved in any project in the area.
Those present also voted overwhelmingly to establish a committee comprising representation from all the communities encompassed by the Summit to Sea project area boundary in order to fight against the project in its current form.
In recent months, Natural Resources Wales and the Waterloo Foundation, both of which were originally listed as partners in the Summit to Sea project by Rewilding Britain, have confirmed that they are not in fact partners, and in September Machynlleth-based company Ecodyfi withdrew its support, saying: "The project reflects the partners' focus on the environment, and pays much less attention to the cultural, linguistic, social and economic aspects of sustainable development, which are fundamental to the whole community."