Overview of the Rhondda
The Rhondda is home to an outstanding natural environment and located in the central / northern area of Rhondda Cynon Taf (RCT). It is broadly defined by two main valleys: the larger Rhondda Fawr and the smaller Rhondda Fach. It borders Neath Port Talbot and Bridgend County Borough Council, and Brecon Beacons National Park is situated a few miles to the north of the Rhondda Fawr valley. Approximately 60,000 people live in the area.
The Rhondda generally comprises steep-sided valleys with developed / urbanised valley floors. This unique landscape means it is home to a wide range of habitats including: valley-side ffridd (a characteristically diverse valley habitat in South Wales), forest plantations, native woodlands, improved grassland, scrub and flushes. The Welsh Government Woodland Estate (WGWE) managed by Natural Resources Wales accounts for approximately 40% of the area.
Our approach in the Rhondda
The Welsh Government is proposing a new, integrated area based approach to managing our natural resources in Wales. It is intended that this new framework will complement planning and sustainable development laws to help deliver economic, social and environmental benefits for Wales.
In preparation for these new duties, we have been developing the approach in the Rhondda. Since early 2014, we’ve met and worked with a wide range of partners to help identify some of the key priorities and opportunities in the area. So far, the approach has met with great energy and enthusiasm from organisations and people who are keen to be involved and work with us.
Some of the key themes for the Rhondda that have emerged from our discussions with stakeholders and the community include:
- Health and wellbeing
- Nature recovery
- Access to green spaces and green infrastructure
- Community resilience and safety (eg flood risk, wildfires, climate change)
- Prosperity and equality
- Management of publicly owned land