Ecosystem Enterprise Partnership

A collaborative project, ‘Eco-system Enterprise Partnership’, is to be one of twenty Nature Fund projects around Wales. The Nature Fund aims to deliver action on the ground to benefit biodiversity and deliver community benefits to the surrounding areas.

The Eco-system Enterprise Partnership will create a collaborative framework between land managers and owners, industry, commerce, government and the third sector to develop and pilot an Eco-bank – a nutrient offsetting scheme for the Milford Haven Waterway and Cleddau catchment.

David Jones of Pembrokeshire Coastal Forum said, “As an independent, neutral coastal partnership we are delighted to lead on this project where collaboration is going to be key. We must recognise that our communities, our economy and our environment are closely interlinked. By recognising these links, we can improve our environment and deliver economic and social benefits for Wales. We have already worked with a numbers of partners to develop the project proposal including NRW, Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water and the Pembrokeshire Marine SAC Relevant Authorities Group. We are now looking forward to working with a much wider group of stakeholders on this exciting project which could also contribute to the delivery of the Water Framework Directive”.

There is a growing concern over the loss of biodiversity in Pembrokeshire, primarily due to changing and intensifying land management practices. Consequently, the majority of the Pembrokeshire Marine Special Area of Conservation features are in unfavourable conservation status and nutrient loading into the Milford Haven Waterway has been identified as a key priority action.

The partnership proposes to develop a nutrient offsetting scheme, creating headroom for potential projects using mitigation or compensation either by developers or land managers. This would incentivise habitat creation by land managers and encourage developers to build mitigation into their forward planning.

Ged Davies of Natural Resources Wales said “We are delighted to be part of this innovative project. Natural Resources Wales was created to work in just this way; collaboratively, locally and with common aims to enhance the environment whilst providing better benefits for society and business. There cannot be a better time for Pembrokeshire people across the different business sectors to come together for mutual benefit”

Given the innovative nature of this initiative, research will feature strongly with Welsh Universities and economists. They will deliver on key elements of the project in relation to baseline research, development of the Eco-bank, and a transparent economic framework to ensure the nutrient offsetting scheme has the ability to be self-sustaining.

Paul Renfro, Pembrokeshire Coastal Forum, added, “The Eco-system Enterprise Partnership funded through the Nature Fund is not an isolated activity but part of the wider approach in moving towards the integrated management of our natural resources in Wales. This is why the Nature Fund approach has been to encourage collaboration of all parties to share the understanding of local challenges to collectively tackle these in a way that is best for communities”.

The Nature Fund which is a Welsh Government initiative will help us to respond to the challenges faced by our wildlife and habitats highlighted in the State of Nature report. The Milford Haven Waterway has been selected as the pilot area for the project due to its considerable environmental value and high concentration of economic activities.