Register your waste exemptions
How to register or renew a waste exemption, including bulk exemptions and waste exemptions for farm waste activities.
Natural Resources Wales (NRW) is calling for information from people on a fly-tipping crime near the North Wales coast.
How to register or renew a waste exemption, including bulk exemptions and waste exemptions for farm waste activities.
Natural Resources Wales (NRW) has a Tree Health Team dedicated to stop and deal with infection and infestation, here Andrew Wright, explains his team's work spearheading the "Keep it Clean" campaign.
Information about our organisation, the work we do, our news, consultations, reports and vacancies.
Find out how we assess if a business complies with environmental legislation, details of our charges and if a site has a permit, licence or exemption.
Find places to go and things to do in the outdoors. We’ve got lots of information to help plan your visit.
Our role in planning and development and what you need to do to protect wildlife, landscape and people if you are a planning a development.
Our approach to gathering evidence, what information is available, and where you can access it.
Find out how to get involved with us and the land we manage, and details of our work with community groups and social enterprises.
Information about the Welsh forest industry and our management of the Welsh Government Woodland Estate.
Advice to those working in the farming sector and details of our role in supporting the development of a sustainable agricultural industry Wales.
Find out more information about how we help conserve the wildlife and biodiversity in Wales.
Learn about your flood risk and what to do during a flood, including how to sign up for flood alerts.
Information for waste sites, including details of the landfill allowance scheme and statutory recycling details for local authorities.
The Marsh Fritillary butterfly, once widespread in Europe, has declined dramatically during the last century. Loss of habitat is the main cause of its decline. The Marsh Fritillary has become extinct over 60 percent of its former range in the UK over the past 30 years. Natural Resources Wales is doing its best to give the species a helping hand in one of its last remaining strongholds – south and west Wales. Conservation work focuses on maintaining current populations by caring for the habitats they depends on – wet grasslands or rhos pastures as they are called. Because Marsh Fritillary butterflies live in groups of connected colonies, the loss or fragmentation of their habitat can have a significant impact on their long-term survival. Recolonisation becomes less likely when habitat patches become more and more isolated. So connectivity is the name of the game. For example….Marsh fritillaries used to be found throughout Ceredigion but the species has now become extinct in many areas of its former range. Although the remaining patches of suitable habitat for Marsh Fritillaries in the county are relatively small they are, in most cases, in very good condition. And, the distance between patches is quite small which helps individuals move between populations, increasing the chances for their survival in the long term. Rhos Talglas Special Area of Conservation (SAC) along with Rhos Llawr Cwrt SAC in Ceredigion support some of the largest remaining internationally important populations of this butterfly. Natural Resources Wales has agreements with the land owners to ensure the best possible management. The land is grazed by Welsh mountain ponies and a large area of Molinia meadow is mown in winter to help establish new growth, and to encourage ponies to graze. One of the main objectives is to favour the growth of Devil’s-bit Scabious, the main food plant for the butterfly. Future plans for this site include an ongoing programme of removing conifers and other invasive species to prevent habitat loss. Natural Resources Wales works on similar projects at other Sites of Special Scientific Interest and SACs in Ceredigion and in other parts of Wales. But the habitat outside these protected sites also needs to be maintained to safeguard Wales as one the main strongholds for Marsh Fritillary in Europe. Without this concerted conservation action, the populations of Marsh Fritillary would probably decline due to habitat fragmentation and could disappear from west Wales in just a few decades. It’s vital that we continue to work with landowners and others to protect the habitat and ensure the long-term survival of this butterfly. You can learn more about the Marsh Fritillary and other conservation projects by visiting the websites naturalresources.wales or butterfly-conservation.org
Skomer Marine Nature Reserve is no different, except that most of its amazing wildlife is hidden under water. It became a Marine Nature Reserve (MNR) in 1990 and then had a name change to the ‘Skomer Marine Conservation Zone’ in 2014. The Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ) surrounds Skomer Island (itself a National Nature Reserve) and the Marloes Peninsula, Pembrokeshire. The wonderfully scenic coast and seabed provide an abundance of different places for animals and plants to live in. But why is this area special and why do we want to protect it? The MCZ is at the northern limit for many warm-water species found more commonly in the Mediterranean, like pink sea fans, red and pink soft corals and scarlet and gold cup corals. It is also the southern limit of some northern species like the sunstar, a starfish species with 13 legs. This unique mix of creatures is all down to location as at Skomer the warm waters from the Gulf Stream meet the cold water currents from the Arctic. There are strong tidal currents around the island, rich in plankton (the start of the food chain), allowing many species to thrive. The animals which are attached to the seabed, like anemones, sea firs, sea squirts and mussels, feed on the plankton. They then provide food for mobile animals like starfish, urchins, fish and lobsters. The homes vary from steep rocky reefs, dense forests of seaweeds to rich sediment communities providing a wide diversity of life. This wealth of life feeds the thousands of breeding seabirds found on Skomer Island and a healthy population of Atlantic Grey seals. Underwater monitoring programme In order to protect the marine environment for future generations, we need to understand how and why the environment changes. We have a team of four NRW marine biologists who are based at Martins Haven, and they are all qualified as scientific divers. Our main job is to map, survey and monitor the marine habitats and species living in the MCZ so we can gather evidence and information on the health of the marine environment. Volunteer divers play a vital role Some of our surveys like territorial fish, sea urchins and eelgrass (which is a ribbon like marine grass) are designed specifically for experienced and enthusiastic volunteer dive teams. A volunteer survey is run each year over two weekends, and have proven to be a great way to collect large amounts of data. This year it was the turn of our scallop population survey, and it is a particularly important one. Scallop and sediment habitat surveys Scallop dredging, and the removal of scallops by any means (including by hand), was prohibited in Skomer MCZ when it became a reserve. We held the first volunteer diving scallop survey in 2000 in order to find out how the population has changed since the 1980s and this has been repeated every 4 years. Results show that the population had increased and the sediment habitat now supports an increase in other wildlife since the site was designated 26 years ago. At first glance sand, gravel, mud and broken shells (sediment) habitats appear deserted. But look a little closer and you will start to notice signs of life. Animals that live here are either brilliantly camouflaged to help them stay alive, or they survive by burrowing beneath the sediment; creatures like worms, burrowing anemones and tiny shrimp-like creatures called amphipods. In fact, over 1000 species have been identified living in the sediment habitats around Skomer, establishing it as one of the most diverse locations in the UK. Scallops themselves are also considered as ‘micro habitats’ as they have a whole host of animals attached to their shells. This includes barnacles, sponges and sea squirts. Even dead scallop shells provide homes to numerous species of crabs, brittlestars, and baby sea urchins. They are also a favourite with a small marine fish called butterfly blennies, because they can coat the inside of the shell with their eggs and then hide inside to safely look after their brood. Important long term marine monitoring datasets The Skomer MCZ is home to the most comprehensive marine species and community monitoring programme in the UK. We also monitor the weather and water conditions like sea temperature, which influence the wildlife of the site. Our biological programme gathers evidence and information on life on the shores and underwater allowing us to report on the health of the marine environment. All this work informs our approach to how we can best guide people towards using and enjoying the marine environment in the area without damaging it. Just as with National Nature Reserves on land, there need to be areas where natural marine habitats are protected to support healthy marine communities and wildlife.
For a proportion of you, who like me when I started working here more than fifteen years ago, you have learnt something new. What is a National Nature Reserve (NNR)? Hundreds of visitors have ventured into the reserve over the years and asked us this question. The other popular question is often ‘What time is the pub open?’ (Usually asked by the teachers, or walkers assembled after a hard days ramble). NNR’s are areas of national importance, and in many cases owned and managed by statutory authorities (like Natural Resources Wales). They are among the best examples of a particular habitat and must be managed properly to retain its special status. We have a page on the website which can tell you more about NNRs. I think they are much more than that though, because to me they are also some of most breath-taking, enjoyable and tranquil places to visit and enjoy in Wales. They are areas of significant historical importance and part of the iconic welsh countryside. They are good for your soul, and we are proud to manage them for you. What’s so special about Oxwich? Oxwich NNR is a small area with a diverse landscape, made up of beaches, sand dunes, open water and broadleaf woodland, plus much more! It is also home to rare and nationally important species like the Dune Gentian and Early Mining Bee. The reserve is a Special Site of Scientific Interest (SSSI) and a Special Area of Conservation (SAC). It is situated just outside Swansea within the UK’s first Area of outstanding natural beauty (AONB). With over 100,000 visitors a year, we work hard to clear paths, cut back vegetation, repair fences and monitor and survey species. We also work with local groups and other organisations to make sure the reserves natural resources are looked after to create a healthier and more resilient environment. Oxwich has welcomed thousands of students over the years, from the earliest learners to University graduates. The often visit our site to learn about the diverse habitats, identify species and understand why nature and its protection is vital for our future generations. It is important that we have a balance between, looking after the protected areas, while making sure they are available for people to enjoy and get closer to nature. In July, the transition from spring to summer is wonderful to witness. The wildfowl appear with young while the butterflies, like small blue and dingy skipper, appear in numbers across the dunes and woodlands and dart amongst the flowering plants. The plants act as important ‘feeders’ relying on pollination from the bees and butterflies, whilst the woodlands are littered with the beautiful speckled wood. At this time of year the dunes are awash with purple from various orchid species, their hues of pink to deep purple give the dune floor an almost ‘glow’ as you wander through the reserve. You will probably spot us on the reserve in July controlling the bracken, we cut it back each year to make sure the flowering plants can flourish. The spring and summer months mean many animals have young or are nesting, we help protect the animals by arranging our work around the animals that live there. The only problem is, we can’t always see the most ‘shy’ creatures. So we have hidden cameras in the undergrowth to see where they live and understand their movements. This will help us to protect the rich, diverse and valuable wildlife we have at the reserve. Visit a Nature Reserve near you! To end, I would like to ask you to visit our nature reserves this summer to see what the fuss is all about. Oxwich is a great place for a summer walk – find out more on our top ten summer walks page. If you see us on site then come and talk to us, we would be happy to tell you about our work to look after these special places. We do ask all visitors to be considerate when they visit because we’ve had a few incidents recently where people have started fires, let of fireworks and left rubbish behind. All of this can threaten the wildlife living on the reserves. You can also keep up to date with the latest news from Oxwich NNR, and hear more about our work by following our new Oxwich on our Facebook page. Cheers, Nick
The Marloes Peninsula is a must-visit for wildlife watching, heritage hunting, coastal walks and outdoor adventure.
The landscape here is incredibly diverse; craggy cliffs and coves make way for sandy bays and neighbouring islands, whilst further inland, coastal heath and thriving wetlands sit alongside agriculture.
There’s plenty to see, do and explore, so get the binoculars, bucket and spade, and walking boots ready and make the most of Marloes.DISCOVER MORE OF OUR VIDEO BLOGS
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