Calls for hosts for UK resettlement programme in Denbighshire
The Council is calling on people living in the county to get in touch with Welsh Government if they can offer a home for those resettling in the UK as a result of the atrocities in Ukraine.
The Council has worked closely with Welsh Government to welcome families and individuals to Denbighshire and teams from the Council have been working to carry out checks at properties put forward as a sanctuary. Teams are also working to support people’s health and well-being needs, as well as supporting families to find places in school for their children.
Welsh Government has now renewed its call for more hosts that can offer a home to come forward and the Council is supporting them to share information and reach local communities.
To offer a home in Wales for refugees from Ukraine you must:
- live or own residential property in Wales
- have not been matched with guests from Ukraine
- be able to offer a spare room or separate home for at least 6 months
- have leave to remain in the UK for at least 6 months
- not have a criminal record
Councillor Rhys Thomas, Cabinet Lead Member for Housing and Communities, said: “Denbighshire has a long history of accommodating and supporting refugees and over the last five years the Council has resettled 25 families, made up of 95 individuals, predominantly in response to the refugee crisis in Syria and Afghanistan.
“We are pleased to have been able to welcome families and individuals arriving in Denbighshire from Ukraine over recent weeks and that work continues.
“The Council is working to ensure the relevant support is available for families once they arrive in Denbighshire, this includes our education team processing applications for school places.
“Through Home Office funding, we are well placed to provide the necessary support and have a working group to manage the programme, as well as a dedicated team working directly with families, and additional support from partners in the third sector and from local volunteer groups.
“A number of Denbighshire residents have come forward to offer accommodation to those who have been forced to leave Ukraine due to the ongoing conflict and on behalf of the Council I would like to thank them for their generosity.
“However, we need those individuals or families who can provide a home to get in touch with the Welsh Government."
If anyone has any enquiries, or would like to offer accommodation, they should visit: www.gov.wales/offerhome.
Award for anti-social behaviour initiative at town gardens
A joint project between the Council, North Wales Police and the Friends of the Botanical Gardens to tackle anti-social behaviour has been honoured at an award ceremony.
The Council’s Streetscene team has worked closely with the Friends of the Botanical Gardens and police, as well as local county councillors, schools, Denbighshire Youth Service, the Community Safety Partnership and the local MP and MS to address the issues which were causing concern locally.
The project was shortlisted for the North Wales Police POP (Problem Orientated Policing) awards and reached the final where the project was awarded second place. Those behind the project were awarded at a recent presentation.
Over recent months, there were issues reported with anti-social behaviour at the location, including groups of young people gathering which people found intimidating and vandalism which included damage to the bowling green.
A series of measures were introduced after discussion with partner organisations. They included additional and improved CCTV coverage, gates closed at night, a fence installed around the bowling green, enhanced local police patrols and improved lighting in parts of the park.
Councillor Barry Mellor, Cabinet Lead Member for Environment and Public Transport, said: “The Botanical Garden in Rhyl is an asset for the local community and we want people to be able to enjoy the surroundings in a safe manner.
“I’m delighted that additional measures have been put in place to try and reduce the anti-social behaviour from a minority of individuals. We will continue to monitor the effectiveness of the project”.
Councillor Rhys Thomas, Cabinet Lead Member for Housing and Communities, said: “This is a great example of partnership working that exists in the town and it really shows how solutions can be found to issues when people sit around the table for discussion.
“This is one of a number of initiatives where we work closely with North Wales Police and other partners to make Rhyl a safer place to live in, work in and visit”.
North Wales Police Inspector for Denbighshire Coastal, Jason Davies said: “Partnership working is key to solving the issue of anti-social behaviour. We are grateful of the work from both the Council, and the Friends of the Botanical Gardens, which has resulted in a reduction in incidents.
“We will continue to target ‘low level’ crime in order to protect our communities, whilst working towards making north Wales the safest place in the UK.”
Council honoured by the Ministry of Defence
The Council is delighted to be one of 12 Welsh employers amongst 156 national organisations honoured with a prestigious Ministry of Defence Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS) Gold Award for its outstanding support towards the Armed Forces community.
Representing the highest badge of honour, the Employer Recognition Scheme Gold Award is awarded to those that employ and support those who serve in the Armed Forces, veterans and their families.
The 12 winners based in Wales will be invited to receive their award later in the year at a special event in the Principality Stadium.
To win an award from the Ministry of Defence, organisations must show that they provide 10 extra paid days leave for reservists and have supportive HR policies in place for veterans, reserves, Cadet Force adult volunteers and spouses and partners of those serving in the Armed Forces. They must also advocate the benefits of supporting those within the Armed Forces community, by encouraging others to sign the Armed Forces Covenant and engage in the Employer Recognition Scheme.
Councillor Julie Matthews, Cabinet Lead Member for Corporate Strategy, Policy and Equalities, and who is also the Armed Forces Champion, said: “This is truly a great honour for Denbighshire.
“We have made a firm commitment in the Council to support our armed forces communities and we are thrilled that our approach to creating a supportive and inclusive environment where people feel supported has been recognised by the Ministry of Defence.
We have signed the Armed Forces Covenant as a declaration that the Council will ensure that those who serve or who have served in the Armed Forces, and their families, are treated fairly. We look forward to strengthening and developing our links with armed forces individuals, communities and organisations and continue to be a supportive and inclusive organisation”.
Work begins to expand accommodation provision for older people in Denbighshire
Grŵp Cynefin has embarked on a £12.2 million expansion plan to update and extend their Extra Care Housing Scheme at Llys Awelon, Ruthin.
The project will involve a complete redevelopment of the site to create a modern, low carbon, bespoke scheme to meet the needs of older people in the Denbighshire area. Grŵp Cynefin’s Extra Care Scheme offers unique independence, neighbourhood and support within purpose built buildings with independent flats for the residents and communal areas such as gardens, lounges, restaurant and a hairdressing salon.
It offers a great opportunity for older people to benefit from an independent lifestyle in a safe and homely community with support and care when they need it.
Grŵp Cynefin has five schemes in Holyhead, Bala, Porthmadog, Denbigh, and Ruthin. At Llys Awelon, Ruthin, an additional 35 one and two bedroom flats and brand new facilities will be added to the existing 21 flats.
The project is a partnership between the Council, Grŵp Cynefin and the Welsh Government and is supported by £7.1 million of Welsh Government Social Housing Programme funding.
According to Mel Evans, Grŵp Cynefin’s Director of Innovation and Growth: “We are proud to be able to work closely with Denbighshire Council and the Welsh Government to be able to offer the highest standard of service at Llys Awelon, Ruthin, which will be a modern, valuable resource for the area.”
Shan Lloyd Williams, Grŵp Cynefin Chief Executive adds: “Such projects bring together Grŵp Cynefin’s best qualities – expertise in Extra Care Housing and important principles – innovation in our construction methods using materials and technology to achieve low or zero carbon and our ability to bring partners together to deliver ambitious and innovative schemes for the benefit of our communities.”
“As well as extending the choice of care and accommodation provision to older people in the Ruthin area, the scheme will help regenerate the site, investing money in the town and surrounding communities.”
Councillor Elen Heaton, Lead Member for Health and Social Care, Denbighshire Council says: “We are pleased to be able to continue to work with Grŵp Cynefin on such an important project as Llys Awelon, Ruthin to help Denbighshire residents.
“Projects like this support our residents to live independently and provide them with high quality housing that meets a wide range of needs.”
New long range green taxi goes live
A new addition has been added to a pilot taxi scheme in Denbighshire.
Following feedback gained through the hosting of the only North Wales pilot of the zero emission green taxi scheme, the Council has introduced a new longer range electronic vehicle.
The Welsh Government, who are funding the scheme, recently set the goal of de-carbonising the taxi fleet entirely by 2028.
The Council is one of a select few Welsh authorities taking part.
Since it began in the County during autumn 2021, 59 taxi drivers have got behind the wheel of four wheelchair-accessible Nissan Dynamo E-NV200 taxis to use as part of the ‘try before you buy scheme’.
Hackney licensed taxi drivers can try the vehicle free of charge for 30 days, including free electric charging at specific locations in the county, vehicle licensing, breakdown cover and insurance.
Up to now the taxis have covered 56759 miles and have operated across Prestatyn, Rhyl, Bodelwyddan, St Asaph, Denbigh, Ruthin and Corwen.
And now following input from drivers using the scheme the current fleet will be joined by a Kia EV6.
The Kia can cover up to 328 miles on a single charge and is designed to allow taxi drivers to confidently work a complete shift including airport transfers without the need for charging.
Councillor Barry Mellor, Lead Member for Environment and Transport, said: "This is one of a number of projects the Council is running on electric vehicles which will help create healthier surroundings and reduce carbon emissions across the county.
“We have had a lot of positive and useful feedback from the drivers who have taken part in this scheme to try out these zero emission taxis and learn about their benefits. One of areas suggested was to look at bringing in longer range vehicles to assist with transport outside of the county and back.
“This vehicle will provide a spacious, modern and luxurious environment for passengers with comfortable surroundings, no noise, vibrations or tailpipe emissions.
“It also helps us continue to source feedback on the use of zero emission vehicles during day to day taxi operations without compromising on service delivery and also demonstrate the fuel savings and impact against climate change that electric vehicles currently offer.
“We are looking forward to listening to the experiences of drivers using this taxi to help us continue to map out the future of this green scheme.”
The vehicle will only be available to those drivers that have already participated in the scheme without serious incident and spaces are currently limited to 10 x 30 day hires over the next 12 months. Expressions of interest to participate will be done the same way, through the Denbighshire website, and will open toward the middle of August.
Home of the Little Terns maintains Green Flag Status
A home for a famous Little Tern Colony has maintained its Green Flag Status.
The Council has welcomed the news that Gronant Sand Dunes has kept its Green Flag status for 2022/23.
The Green Flag Award is a sign to the public that a park or green space boasts the highest possible environmental standards, is beautifully maintained and has excellent visitor facilities.
The dunes were first awarded Keep Wales Tidy’s prestigious Green Flag Award last year which provides a national quality standard and framework for green space.
The group of Little Terns at Gronant beach near Prestatyn is the largest breeding colony found in Wales.
This beach site is internationally known as it contributes to over 10 percent of the entire UK breeding population as well as supplementing other colonies.
Councillor Win Mullen James, Cabinet Lead Member for Local Development and Planning, said: “Our Countryside Service is really proud that the Gronant Dunes Site of Special Scientific Interest has kept the Green Flag Award.
“The dunes are a fantastic area in terms of the landscape, character and its important biodiversity value. They are also home to a thriving Little Tern colony thanks to the support of our staff and volunteers.
“A lot of continued effort has gone in to supporting the infrastructure at the site to give visitors and residents a real flavour of the natural beauty whilst keeping disturbance to a minimum and I would like to thank all who work very hard to make this possible.”
The Fflecsi transport scheme operated by an electric bus can be personally booked by yourself to travel in Ruthin and the surrounding area, more details here.
Director of Social Services Annual Report
The Director of Social Services Annual Report which gives a summary of our performance for 2021 – 2022 has just been published on our website.
The Annual Report covers both adults and children’s services and highlights what we have achieved over the year but also covers what we still have to do, moving forward.
Draft Conwy a Sir Ddinbych Well-being Plan – Tell us what you think!
Conwy & Denbighshire Public Services Board (PSB) have produced a draft Well-being Plan for the region and want to hear people’s views on our chosen objective and the approach we want to take.
Every 5 years, following an Assessment of Local Well-being in its area, the PSB must agree Well-being Objectives for the benefit of its communities, and the steps it proposes to take to meet them.
The document outlines the content of the PSB’s future Well-being Plan for 2023 to 2028, where the Board will focus on making Conwy and Denbighshire a more equal place with less deprivation.
This is a significant challenge, and will require all the collective resources of partners to address. We will strive to apply the sustainable development principle established under the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015, and contribute to all the national Well-being Goals.
This document provides only the outline of our plan, and it is through this consultation that we are seeking you views on the direction we are taking and the steps that we propose to take, which will then better inform a final version that we will approve in the Spring, 2023.
Click the logo (left) to see the draft Well-Being Plan and share your views. To request a paper copy please get in touch through our contact us page. Alternatively, you can also send any comments or suggestions on the Well-being Assessment to email@example.com or phone 01492 574059.
The closing date for our survey is 9 November 2022.
Living Wall installed in Rhyl as part of Green Infrastructure project
A living wall has recently been erected on the Rhyl City Strategy (RCS) Hub building on the corner of Wellington Road and Elwy Street.
The Council has been working with Rhyl City Strategy in Rhyl to secure a living wall to the exterior wall of the building. The development includes twelve metres square of vertical planting in a modular system, has an irrigation system which will provide water and feed to the plants automatically. A tank beneath the living wall will also allow for the water to be recycled.
This project supports the delivery of the Council's wider Rhyl Regeneration project and has been funded by Welsh Government’s Transforming Towns funding as part of a wider town centre greening initiative and commitment to make the authority net carbon zero by 2030.
Living walls are often used in urban areas to deliver a number of benefits including improving air quality, increasing biodiversity to provide nesting space for food birds and insects whilst also improving people’s health and wellbeing.
Councillor Barry Mellor, Lead Member for Environment and Transport said: “This initiative will offer multiple health and wellbeing benefits to people living and visiting Rhyl whilst also adding attractive green space.
“Living walls are of most benefit to areas with lots of urban infrastructure and limited green spaces as the plants help clean the air we breathe.
“Thank you to everyone involved for developing this project, it puts us another step closer towards the Council's commitment to a net carbon authority and creating our wider vision for Rhyl.”
Joanne Bartlett-Jones Head of Resources at Rhyl City Strategy said: “It is fantastic to be able to host the living wall on our premises as part of the town centre greening initiative.
“We are very keen to be able to play our part toward increasing biodiversity in the area, not only does it look fantastic and improve individual wellbeing, it is also helping the local insects and birds!”
The Town Centre greening initiative has enabled Countryside Services to promote and support volunteering opportunities in the Town Centre. If you are interested in becoming a Countryside Volunteer or a Community Champion please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Initiative helps set up new Denbighshire care and support micro-providers
Denbighshire residents can now access a number of new local micro-providers for care and support.
Thanks to the support of a partnership between social enterprise Community Catalysts and the Council, 16 county residents are now working for themselves offering care and support to older and disabled people in their local communities.
Community Catalysts offer free professional advice to help people work for themselves offering care and support across the county.
The micro-providers they have helped create have so far supported over 70 people within Denbighshire to get the support they need in their own home, whether that be help around the house, companionship, helping someone get out and about or providing personal care.
With a further 25 micro-providers coming through the programme, in the future more people in Denbighshire will be able to utilise these services to help them be happier and safer in their own home.
Nick Hughes Community Catalyst for Denbighshire, said: “We have helped a range of established micro-providers to include live-in carers, personal care, practical help at home and a range of other services designed to help people remain safe and well in their own homes.
We are always looking for more people to set up their very own micro-provider enterprise. So if you think you could offer people in your community some support, get in touch to find out more.”
“It’s a pleasure working with people passionate about helping others in their local communities. It’s great to see people put their own personal touches to the way they offer their services and to see the amazing benefits they have in people’s lives.”
Councillor Elen Heaton, Lead Member for Health and Social Care, said: “We are really pleased to be working with Community Catalysts on this great initiative to help people bring their ideas to life to provide more support to the older and disabled population. This is a fantastic programme which can really help caring entrepreneurs support and help local residents.”
“I would like to thank all the 16 micro-providers for their commitment to care and look forward to seeing the support the further 25 micro-providers will provide when they fish the programme.”
For further information about Community Catalysts and how they can help you become a micro-provider visit - https://bit.ly/3bTwcka
If you want to see some of the micro-providers who are operating in Denbighshire, check out the Small Good Stuff Directory.
Major stage in Rhyl regeneration project reached as work begins on Queen’s Market
Work to transform a historic Rhyl site into one which can be enjoyed by the local community, visitors, and businesses has commenced, thanks to the Council and a grant from the Welsh Government’s Transforming Towns programme and European Regional Development Fund.
Bodelwyddan-based Wynne Construction has been appointed by the Council to carry out the design and construction of the brand-new Queen’s Market in the first step of the transformation of the wider Queen’s Buildings which sit along the town’s promenade.
The project is the latest stage in the wider regeneration vision for Rhyl and will see the site transformed into a space for the community to enjoy, with work on the Queen’s Market expected be completed by Summer 2023.
Wynne Construction is currently carrying out the groundworks on site, which includes putting in place a piled concrete solution on which the building will sit.
The development will see the construction of a new indoor market hall containing a mezzanine for additional seating and pop-up vendors, as well as a versatile event and commercial space, and a landscaped external realm.
As part of the project, Wynne Construction will maintain the character of the historic Queen’s Chambers on Sussex Street, preserving the traditional stone detailing at the old entrance of the building which dates back to 1902.
Traditional brickwork and signage will also be installed to ensure the building sits comfortably into the local surroundings.
The project includes additional sustainability measures to reduce energy usage and create a low-carbon footprint for the development such as installing photovoltaic panels on the roof and an all-air heating and cooling system, which regulates fresh air and temperature throughout the building.
Design manager at Wynne Construction Richard Beatson said: “The new Queen’s Market has been designed with community interaction at the forefront, and we are thrilled to get work underway to bring this modern development to the historic Rhyl promenade.
“The site will be great addition to the wider regeneration of the town and will bring a fresh interpretation to the market hall experience. Whilst benefitting from the goods and services offered by vendors, visitors can enjoy high quality local food from a variety of outlets.
“As part of all our builds, we will also look to work with the local supply chain to offer learning opportunities for apprentices and those looking to enter the industry as well as engage directly with the community over the life of the construction process.”
As part of Wynne Construction’s community engagement, the firm will be hosting two community-facing events at Rhyl Pavilion on Thursday 22 September.
The day will see a ‘Meet The Buyer’ event open to subcontractors who are interested in joining the supply chain, as well as social enterprise and third-sector organisations looking to provide goods and services during the construction phase.
A job fair for the public will also showcase what will be involved on the scheme as well as highlighting the local career opportunities the project will offer.
Councillor Jason McLellan, Leader and Lead Member for Economic Growth and Tackling Deprivation said: “We are very pleased to be working with Wynne Construction to deliver the first phase of the Queen’s Buildings which is a key catalyst project within the Councils wider regeneration programme for Rhyl.
“The project is already providing career opportunities for local people including apprenticeship opportunities, work experience and placements via the Council’s Working Denbighshire project.”
“This building will be an asset to the county, I am glad to see it progressing.”
Following Wynne Construction’s development of the Queen’s Market, the Council are continuing to progress with plans to further develop the remainder of the Queen’s Buildings site.
The funding for the development has been provided by the Council, the Welsh Government Transforming Towns programme and the European Regional Development Fund.
Deputy Minister for Climate Change, Lee Waters, said: “This transformation of Rhyl’s iconic Queen’s Market means the people of Denbighshire can support local businesses on their doorstep and make good use of a welcoming space to hold community events.
“I am pleased to see Denbighshire County Council making good use of our Transforming Towns funding and look forward to seeing the revitalised promenade.”
Wynne Construction has been appointed through the North Wales Construction Partnership (NWCP) framework to construct the building.
To book an appointment for Wynne’s ‘Meet The Buyer’ event, please contact social value manager Alison Hourihane on email@example.com.
For more information about Wynne Construction visit http://www.wynneconstruction.co.uk/
Denbighshire prepares to welcome the Wales and the Battle of Britain Exhibition
An exhibition telling the story of Wales’s contribution in the largest air battle ever recorded is coming to Denbighshire later this month.
The Wales and the Battle of Britain Touring Exhibition was created by the RAF’s Air Historical Branch (Dr Lynsey Shaw) together with Air Commodore Adrian Williams, Air Officer Wales, to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain in 2020, but was delayed due to Covid.
The exhibition is now touring Wales and it will be at Rhyl Town Hall on Friday, 30 September (3pm-6pm); Saturday, 1 October (10am-5pm) and Sunday, 2 October (10am-4pm). Admission is free.
Air Commodore Adrian Williams stated: “I’m delighted that, following on from the official opening of the Wales and the Battle of Britain 80th Anniversary Exhibition in Cardiff, the exhibition is now touring Wales and will be hosted in Denbighshire.
“The exhibition tells a story that will enable Welsh people, of all ages, to come along and find out more about what happened in the skies and on the ground during wartime. Uniquely, it focuses on the Welsh aircrew who fought, telling their stories and heroism to a modern Welsh audience”.
Councillor Julie Matthews, Denbighshire’s Cabinet Lead Member for Corporate Strategy, Policy and Equalities, and who is also the Armed Forces Champion, said: “We are very proud to play host to this important exhibition, created in honour of those that sacrificed their lives and to learn about the part that people and communities across Wales played in this historic event.
“We have strong links with the Armed Forces communities and a proud tradition of supporting them through our Armed Forces Covenant. This is a declaration that the Council will ensure that those who serve or who have served in the Armed Forces, and their families, are treated fairly.
“To be able to reflect the history of Wales and the Battle of Britain is an honour”.
Featuring a series of large, prepared panels and a number of artefacts, the exhibition will include photographs and narrative to tell, for the first time, the story of how Wales featured in the Battle of Britain and what happened in the skies and on the ground during wartime.
Climate Change and Biodiversity
Largest multi electric vehicle charging hub in Wales to arrive at Rhyl
A new multi electric vehicle charging hub is to be installed in Rhyl.
Work has started to install an electric vehicle charging hub at West Kinmel Street Car Park, Rhyl.
The charge park, the first of its size in Wales and the second current largest in the UK, will offer capability for charging 36 vehicles simultaneously.
The introduction of the hub, funded by the Welsh Government, follows the successful installation of chargers at Kings Avenue car park at Prestatyn.
Located at the west end of the car park the hub will be a mix of ‘fast’ 7kwh chargers for local users who have no access to off street parking and ‘rapid’ 50kw chargers for a quick top up and also to assist local taxi drivers on the uptake of electric vehicles by minimising disruption to operational work time. All the chargers at the hub will be open for public use.
Work on the site is expected to take up to 8 weeks to complete.
Councillor Barry Mellor, Lead Member for Environment and Transport, said: “We are really pleased to be able to launch this exciting project for Rhyl to deliver support for local electric vehicle owners. This charging hub will also support our important climate change work and be of clear benefit to nearby households who don’t have the capability for off road charging facilities.
“We also hope this hub will help encourage more visitors to come to Rhyl on the knowledge they have this facility to charge their vehicles and also be an asset to commuters arriving at the town to use the nearby train station by enabling them to park and charge.
“We understand that there will be some disruption on the car park while the site is installed and we thank people for their support and patience whilst the hub is built. Spaces will still be available on the West Kinmel Car Park and also at nearby town car parks while the work is carried out.”
Three of the parking bays and charging units will be specifically allocated for disabled users.
The charging units will also offer a range of bilingual payment options including, contactless card, App driven and RFID Card.
Daytime and peak time users will still pay for a parking space at the hub however the electric vehicle bays will have no parking charges levied between 5pm and 8am as per the rest of the car park.
Council receives Carbon Literacy award
The Council has formally received a Carbon Literate Organisation Bronze Award.
The award was presented to the Council at an event held on Thursday July 14 at the Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester, by the Carbon Literacy Project.
The Council declared a Climate Change and Ecological Emergency in July 2019 and has since committed to becoming a Net Carbon Zero and Ecologically Positive Council by 2030, in addition to reducing carbon emissions from the goods and services bought.
The Council also changed its Constitution in October 2020 and all decisions made must now 'have regard to tackling Climate and Ecological Change'.
Over 200 staff and councillors were taken on an intensive one-day course to improve carbon literacy across the organisation and all staff are now able to access a new online E-Learning package which introduces them to Climate Change issues and how they can play their part to make a difference in their daily role and at home
The Council has become just one of 52 carbon literate organisations in the UK and Ireland.
Councillor Barry Mellor, Lead Member for Environment and Transport, said: “We are delighted to formally receive this award on the back of our continued drive to becoming carbon neutral. Protecting and improving our environment is a top priority for us and we are fully committed to continue reducing our carbon footprint and also increase biodiversity across Denbighshire.
“We are grateful to all staff who have supported us in achieving this accreditation as it will continue to help us ensure that all of our services understand their carbon footprint and what contributions they need to make to reduce it.”
End of season work begins for biodiversity project
End of season work is set to take place across the county’s wildflower meadows.
From the beginning of August, the second cut of the season will take place at the Council’s Wildflower Meadows Project sites.
This year’s season includes over a 100 managed wildflower meadows that have contributed to improved species richness across Denbighshire. These make up nearly 35 football pitches worth of native wildflower habitat.
Already this year the Council has recorded an early purple orchid, a pyramidal orchid and nine bee orchids on sites where they had previously not been recorded.
The project which is part of the Council’s wider Bee Friendly campaign is also in place to support the recovery of bees and other insect pollinators in the county.
As the flowering season is at the end, August will see Streescene staff visiting sites across the county carrying out cutting with specialist mowing equipment. The cuttings are removed off the meadow sites to help lower the richness of the soil and also support a low nutrient ground that our native wildflowers and grass need to grow.
Councillor Barry Mellor, Lead Member for Environment and Transport, said: “All of our sites are left uncut between March and August. Cutting late summer gives the flowers the chance to set seed to continue improving the biodiversity of the meadows they grow in.
“This also allows our Biodiversity team to collect seeds from sites to take back to the Council’s tree nursery for growing. Plants we grow from seed are used to further boost the biodiversity of sites across Denbighshire.
“We would like to thank everyone for their support for this important climate change project during the flowering season and look forward to seeing how the first batch of native plants grown at our nursery are introduced into sites over the coming months.”
If you want to learn more about our Wildflower Meadows Project, please visit the link below.
Nursery generates thousands of plants for wildflower sites
Thousands of plants have been grown locally to boost a Council biodiversity project.
The Council’s local provenance tree nursery at Green Gates Farm, St Asaph, has produced nearly 8,000 plants during its first growing season.
The nursery has been funded by the Welsh Government, through the Local Nature Partnerships Cymru ENRaW project and Local Places for Nature grant.
And following the Council’s declaration of a Climate and Ecological Emergency in 2019, the project is part of an ongoing commitment to enhancing biodiversity across the county.
Thirty types of wildflower plants have been grown at the nursery, including bristly oxtongue, cat’s ear, goat’s beard, hound’s tongue and rough hawkbit.
The plants grown will be taken to existing wildflower meadows across the county to boost the range of flowers at the sites and maintain local biodiversity.
The nursery is also on course to produce over a 1,000 trees that will be planted across selected woodland sites in the county to support the local environment.
Councillor Barry Mellor, Lead Member for Environment and Transport, said: “We are really pleased with the results of the first year’s crop of wildflowers at the nursery. Our biodiversity team is currently planning distribution to those wildflower sites across the county that need extra support to mature and I look forward to seeing more colours and variety appearing at meadows next year.
“We are also extremely grateful to the fantastic volunteers who have helped us achieve this number of plants by giving up their time to help out at the nursery.”
“We are keen to continue our volunteering opportunities for anyone who has an interest in the local environment, keen plant growers or those who generally want to learn more about the biodiversity projects the Council runs, especially as we approach the outside planting season.”
If you would like to volunteer, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
Green guide looks at helping town’s environment
A green guide has been published to generate ideas for improving a town’s environment.
The Clwydian Range and Dee Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty ( AONB ) has published an illustrated guide to the Llangollen Green Infrastructure (GI) initiative opportunities.
Following on from the AONB’s 2021 publication, ‘Landscape and Nature Recovery in a Changing Climate’, the new guide looks at opportunities for adding to the existing GI network in Llangollen to managing, mitigating, and adapting to the threats posed by climate change.
Developed in consultation with the local community and led by the AONB’s climate change lead officer, the guide identifies six well known locations in the town and how they would benefit from GI additions.
Each of the locations are linked together by a GI route which is a mainly traffic free green corridor which should encourage active travel.
The guide looks at the existing situation in the town, sets out the basic principles necessary to provide a joined-up network of green spaces which benefit the local ecosystem and recommends improvements for discussion which would realise the GI objectives.
These include ecological improvements like tree and wildflower meadow planting and improved facilities such as path and signage improvements and sustainable drainage systems.
Councillor Win-Mullen James, Lead Member for Local Development and Planning, said: “This fantastic publication marks the start of a longer-term objective of creating a more sustainable Llangollen. Apart from the Council, Natural Resources Wales (NRW) and the AONB, several local organisations and businesses have already signalled their support for the guide, including the town council and Llangollen Friends of the Earth.
“It’s also good to see Ysgol Dinas Bran pledging its full support as the involvement of the next generations is essential.
“This is a great opportunity to spark discussion and action on green infrastructure from both a community grass roots level, and strategic level and we look forward to hearing the outcomes driven by this document.”
Printed versions of the guide are available from the AONB Llangollen office and also the Loggerheads Country Park office.
Whilst the last two years have been a time for people to rediscover an affinity for nature, this process of reconnection is now extending to people. After two years of online meetings, the chance to have face to face catch-ups is one that we are all jumping at the chance for. Here at the Clwydian Range and Dee Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and Denbighshire Countryside Service we are no exception. An away day on Prestatyn Hillside we hear? Count us in!
With such a diverse team - from countryside rangers, to Nature for Health rangers, to biodiversity and tree officers – our hectic day to day can make it hard to keep up connections and keep abreast of projects in the pipeline. Strengthening these working relationships is important for us to be able to work effectively as a team to deliver the important works across the AONB and Denbighshire, with the added benefits of a morale boost to boot.
Speaking of pipelines, one of the projects to be celebrated was the final stages of a water pipe installation for grazing animals on Prestatyn Hillside. A challenging site from the offset, only accessible on foot, it is also a Site of Special Scientific Interest recognised, for its herb rich calcareous grassland and pockets of limestone heath. These are under threat from the encroachment of invasive and dominant species on the steep pockets of land. The near completion of this first stage of works to combat the encroachment problems with grazing was really was something to be marvelled at.
Prestatyn Hillside was one of the sites included in the Welsh Government and EU funded Sustainable Management Scheme - Landscape Solutions for North East Wales project, which aimed to bring 40 key sites across North East Wales into Sustainable management grazing regimes. The project has invested in the infrastructure needed to make these sites suitable for grazing including fencing, providing water supply and habitat management. As part of this, the hillside has been sectioned into 3 grazing pockets so that sheep can be introduced to the site to help us manage the wonderful limestone grassland that exists there. The installation of the water pipe to provide the sheep with water is the final puzzle piece for the first stage.
Our walk took us on a tour of the hillside with talks from the key people who had worked on this project. The balance between the habitat works, the preparation for the introduction of the grazing and the recreational access may have been hard to achieve but it will help to realise the full potential of the habitats on Prestatyn Hillside. On our return journey we took a whistle stop tour of other projects that are underway in the area, including footpath works, pond works and a community project to revive their village green which not only looks great but will be of much benefit to pollinators.
All in all, a perfect way to spend a day catching up with colleagues, celebrating their achievements and getting inspiration for future works and we can’t wait for our next staff away day!
Green Communities Project gets off to a flying start in Denbighshire
The Green Communities team have been travelling the county over the past few months exploring different projects and supporting communities with applications to the Green Communities Fund. Many exciting opportunities for communities and individuals across Denbighshire have been put forward and seven project have been successful in their applications and started work to deliver their plans.
Llanfair Dyffryn Clwyd have big plans for the old school playing field, they propose to use the field for a number of purposes that will provide benefit and amenity to the community. The three main aspects of their project are firstly to create a children’s play area using natural resources. This will include a wild play are and a space for outdoor learning. Secondly they will create a peace garden for all ages, but particularly older residents. Finally a community co-operative growing space will be created, allowing local residents who may not have growing space at home to enjoy growing vegetables.
ReSource is a social and environmental enterprise based near Denbigh town, they are committed to connecting communities through sustainable activities with a specific focus on the inclusion of often marginalised individuals that includes individuals with disabilities and learning disabilities. ReSource operates from the Cae Dai Trust site in Denbigh and provides a small community growing space, woodworking, upcycling workshop and much more, over the last couple of months they have totalled over 300 volunteering hours and are quickly running out of space. With the help of the Green Communities funding ReSource wish to expand the community areas to two adjoining fields which have been neglected for a number of years, by bringing these areas back to life. ReSurce will create a community site for nature and growing, this will include bringing the community orchard back to life, repair the community nature pond to improve biodiversity of species in the area and create a community space to sit and relax in natural surroundings for people to enjoy being outdoor in nature.
The Tidy Town team at Llangollen have been hard at work planning the St John’s wood project, another project that is benefiting from the Green Communities fund. The project will open access to a green space close to the centre of Llangollen as well as improving the aesthetic of the adjacent cemetery. Currently the site is not accessible, however the Tidy Town team will be creating access into the woodland, giving people a quiet space to enjoy wildlife and the natural habitat around them. Some dangerous trees will be removed after been affected by ash die back, oak benches will be installed where visitors can rest, open areas will be created to allow forest school activities, a small nature trail will be created with interpretation panels guiding people around whilst also highlighting the importance of ecology, biodiversity and the natural world. The site shares its car park with the cemetery and the project will improve the parking area making it more visually attractive whilst also creating more parking spaces.
Although Llanbedr Dyffryn Clwyd Village Hall was granted a Carbon Neutral Status eleven years ago, the village hall committee were keen to take it one step further and aim to become the greenest village hall in Wales, whilst also taking into account biodiversity and the environment. With the help of the Green Communities project they have been able to add additional solar panels to the hall, this will reduce the need for fossil fuels and to reduce the running costs of the hall. The project will also change both the indoor and outdoor lighting, all of which are fitted with sensors which will significantly reduce the time which the lights are switched on, the outside lighting will comply with the darks skies project, in order to reduce the impact of lighting on wildlife in the area. Finally, the project will fund an outside charging point for e-bikes to encourage people to reduce the use of their cars, the charging point will be available for local residents as well as passers-by who may wish to visit the local Church or the Griffin inn.
Rhuddlan Town Council have been successful with their application to the Green Communities fund and are ready to start work over the Autumn, their project has five main aspects. The first is to install power at the community allotments to allow electrical tools to be used, this will reduce noise as well as reducing pollution by using a greener energy source. Secondly they will improve the pathways on the allotments to allow safer and greater access to raised beds. Thirdly, two bee gardens will be created, one at the allotments and another at the Rhuddlan Nature Reserve, this will promote biodiversity through the introduction of more pollinators in the vicinity. Rhuddlan Town Council will also benefit from the Green Communities project by planting a berry hedge at the Bowling Club, which will encourage birdlife and wildlife. Finally, the project will fund a teacher and assistant to be trained in Level 3 Forest Skills, this will enable Woodland skills and outdoor curriculum to be delivered to all pupils at Ysgol Y Castell.
The Memorial Hall Committee at Llandegla are also benefiting from the Green Communities project to install solar panels in order to produce green energy to power the hall, it will reduce the hall’s carbon footprint and provide ongoing sustainability to the hall as a community asset to benefit current and future generations as well as the community school who have exclusive use of the hall during term time. They have calculated that by creating their own electricity they will be saving in the region of £2,500 per year. As well as solar panel installation, they are also including some environmental enhancement in their project by planting a hedge around the playground to encourage birds and wildlife, the planting will be an educational activity with the school children and volunteers.
There is still opportunity for communities to get in touch with any potential projects they may have, the project officers are always happy to advise on any potential projects and will help you along the way. Please email email@example.com for any further information.
One Good Tern!
“Fantastic experience” “Great to be here” “Wonderful”
If you’ve ever been lucky enough to see one of these charming, if noisy, little sea birds, then you will know the joy to be found in their company. With a characteristic white stripe across the brow and brilliant yellow bill, they are a delight to watch. Returning to the UK in late April, after travelling from as far as Guinea Bissau, many will nest among the rocky shoreline of shingle at Wales’ only little tern colony: Gronant.
[Photo credit: Ian Sheppard]
This shingle at Gronant is essential to this ground nesting bird, required for camouflaging a nest successfully. A plentiful stock of sand eels is also found here. These silvery fish are frequently seen drooping from both sides of a little tern’s bill, a fishy Fu Manchu. The sand eels are not only a fantastic source of nutrients, but also key for their courting displays.
Not long after the wardens had started on site, the first of the little terns arriving at Gronant were spotted. With jubilation, there had been a brief glimpse of two one day, three the next: a drop of water trickling over a weir. By May, they had arrived in the hundreds, the flood gates opened! It was a busy start to the season, with over 3km of electric fencing going up around the site, creating a haven safe from foxes and dogs. Thanks to the help of volunteers from the North Wales Little Tern Group and hard work from staff at Denbighshire Countryside Services, it wasn’t long before we started to find nests containing precious treasures, hidden among the shingle, speckled in blue, olive, and white.
[Little tern chicks – close to one day old]
Our latest nest count in early June gave us a record sum of well over 200 nests. This is up 22.4% from the previous maximum active nest count at Gronant in 2018. With great glee, the first of the little tern chicks were spotted that same day. This is an encouraging sign for a productive season, but not a promise of success. There are several more high tides to contend with, and the tireless deterrence of predators for the wardens to tackle. The honeymoon period spent cooing over chicks was cut short almost instantly after a kestrel was seen making off with a chick in its clutches. For consolation, we reminded ourselves that they have their own young to feed. A greater problem recently has been human disturbance causing several terns to abandon their nests, and even more worryingly, damage caused by dogs not being kept under close control. With the summer holidays just around the corner, we are all taking a deep breath in for the weeks ahead.
To counter nest losses to high tides, the wardens have been moving vulnerable nests incrementally up shore. The key features of the nest are recreated as accurately as possible, with rocks and decorative shells being carefully transferred. A keen eye is kept on the parent terns to make sure they return to their nest, making sure this has been a successful relocation. As with many decisions made while working with wildlife, it is time sensitive, and there are a multitude of factors considered before moving a nest. The conditions must be just right: little to no wind, warm weather, mid to low tide, and no disturbance from predators or humans. For some clutches, this might not be enough to save them, but as a remarkably resilient species, many little terns will attempt to nest again, learning from previous mistakes and choosing to nest further up shore the second time. There is hope yet.
Funding this year came from the Welsh Government’s Landfill Disposals Tax Communities Scheme (LDTCS), administered by the Wales Council for Voluntary Action. This funding has given the project an essential opportunity to engage with local school groups, with the hope to inspire and connect. It is essential not to downplay the impact of the pandemic on young people, many of whom have had challenges accessing the outdoors, and with the Nuffield Trust reporting an 81% increase in referrals for children and young people’s mental health services compared with the same period in 20191. Many teachers explained that this was their first outing as a group in over two years, and frequently I overheard how good it was to see their students “just being kids”.
Often, walking down to the beach from meeting a group off the bus, questions and facts from the kids would boil over, too much excitement to put a lid on. “Did you know that little terns can travel over 6000 miles in a year?!”, “Did you know that little terns weigh the same as a golf ball?!”, “Did you know that foxes can jump over 6 feet?! That’s taller than you!”. They had done their research! A popular activity was nest building, the creativity and imagination deployed was stunning; I saw mazes constructed to keep weasels out, domes built to keep foxes from stealing eggs, and decoy perching sites to confuse crows. We were explorers combing the strandline, discovering whelks and shore crabs, treasure hunters playing camouflage the egg, and architects designing our own nests. But, most importantly, they got to be kids just being kids, tumbling, learning, and playing in the sand.
[Little terns with sand eels. Photo credit: Ian Sheppard]
This season will see several hundred young people visiting the beach, with groups from 7 local schools and ages ranging from 6–19. Unfortunately, some visits just weren’t possible this year, with pressures for schools to find funding for transport, or simply to get time away from exam preparations. To counter this, I brought the beach to them, visiting 3 schools to talk to them about the project. Accessibility is a must, so instead of visiting the beach, I brought a sand dune diorama to play with for 8-year-olds, and a scientific presentation for A Level biology students. It is crucial not to exclude those that can’t visit, and none of this would be possible without the funding from the LDTCS.
In conversation with many of the children, I repeatedly heard them express feeling relaxed, happy, and excited while at the beach. I would ask if they had been before and was surprised to learn that very few had. It was important to emphasise just how special their beach is, discussing the significance of the little tern colony, and all the different ways to get involved or support the terns if they chose to. I was reassured most days when I would hear them begging their teachers to come back again. One group wrote to tell me that “it opened their eyes to this important local conservation project”. Meaningful conversations fostering the idea of stewardship and generating the feeling of community and positivity around this project are so valuable at this critical age, in a critical time. Several schools have already asked to come later in the season, demonstrating the power of this special place and how it can connect people with nature, and to themselves.
[Pupils from Ysgol y Llys]
Other highlights from earlier in the season included a guided walk as part of the Prestatyn walking festival, as well as the little tern colony being the focal site visit for the North Wales rangers’ conference: NEWCOF.
If you are interested in visiting or volunteering at the site or just want to find out more, you can follow us @GronantTerns or say hello at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Growing problems, in depth: the impact of covid-19 on health care for children and young people in England. www.nuffieldtrust.org.uk/resource/growing-problems-in-detail-covid-19-s-impact-on-health-care-for-children-and-young-people-in-england
Electric pedal power tackles nature reserve work
Countryside officers have cycled in a climate change tackling trial.
An E-Cargo trike has been put to trial at Rhyl’s Brickfield Pond site to tackle the area’s daily work schedule.
Instead of using a fossil fuel powered vehicle at the site to help perform daily tasks, officers tested out the trikes capacity to support them and ultimately help reduce carbon output.
Sustrans loaned the trike for use by Countryside officers across NE Wales which are designed to help reduce emissions, reduce operating costs and help improvement engagement with community members while out working.
The trike was trialled at Rhyl’s Brickfield Pond during June this year and has also been tested at Greenfields in Flintshire, the Urdd in Denbigh and at Chirk Castle.
While at the nature reserve the e-cargo trike was used to carry out fencing work and to allow rangers to carry tools and equipment between their base at Brickfields Ponds and a variety of sites where strimming, brush cutting and pruning works were needed to maintain public access.
Councillor Win-Mullen James, Lead Member for Local Development and Planning, said: “We are striving to reduce our carbon footprint and testing this vehicle strongly supports our drive to rely less on fossil fuel driven vehicles.”
“We are grateful for the loan of the E-Cargo Trike from Sustrans, Countryside staff have enjoyed putting it through its paces. It has also helped us engage more with people using the areas around the nature reserve and allowed us to highlight our climate change work.”