Earlier this month, the newly formed Black Mountains Land Use Partnership appointed Phil Stocker, Chief Executive of the National Sheep Association as their new Chairman.
The partnership brings together key representatives and landowners from the Black Mountain Graziers Association and farming community, Brecon Beacons National Park Authority, Natural Resources Wales, Glanusk Estate, Natural England, Welsh Water, Tregoyd Estate, Bal Mawr/Bal Bach Estate, Duke of Beaufort Estate, Michaelchurch Estate and Ffwddog Estate to agree on the decision making and future management of the Black Mountains. The newly formed partnership will provide the driving force behind the restoration and sustainable management of the iconic and protected area.
On being appointed as Chairman, Mr Stocker commented: “I feel honoured to be invited into this role and am delighted to accept the responsibility that goes with it. This is a huge opportunity to try to harmonise the multiple interests that are invested in this incredible area and to put the farmers and graziers into a decision making and central driving position for an incredibly special landscape that many of them have lived and worked on for generations. I hope I am well placed to further the work that has already been achieved so far and that my experience of farming, land management policy and strategy, in both Wales and England will be of value.
“The farming output from the Black Mountains should not be underestimated and we should remember that most of what is valued in terms of biodiversity and public enjoyment was created by a very long and traditional farming and grazing system. Increasingly areas such as this are also being recognised for their potential in renewable energy and combatting the effects of climate change. Getting that balance effectively in place and properly recognised is both the challenge and the opportunity that we have ahead of us.”
The creation of the partnership is the second phase of a unique collaborative project to improve the biodiversity on the Black Mountains which was made possible with a £200,000 grant from the Welsh Government’s Nature Fund. The grant supports a continuous improvement programme to restore heathland, peat bogs and other habitats in the Black Mountains and represent a significant portion of the Welsh Government’s Nature Fund – which is investing in innovative and collaborative projects across Wales to support practical action to improve areas of biodiversity while providing benefits to communities and local economies.
The next meeting for the partnership is scheduled for Thursday 10th September.