Newport is a mix of urban and rural environments including beautiful parks, open spaces and the wonderful countryside that surrounds the city.
The Welsh Government recognises all the benefits that are provided by plants, animals, micro-organisms and the places where they live and are aiming to reverse the decline of biodiversity in Wales.
As a local authority Newport City Council has a duty to function sustainably and lead by example when it comes to protecting and enhancing our natural environment.
Here are just some of the initiatives to help Newport become a more sustainable and environmentally friendly city.
Bee friendly grass management
Newport has over 25 acres managed as pollinator sites to attract bees, butterflies, beetles and other insects. As an official Bee Friendly City, Newport's grass management and mowing regimes have been reviewed. Although many verges, junctions and roundabouts will continue to be cut for road safety and pedestrian access, in selected areas we have changed the grass, verge and hedgerow cutting regimes.
In Newport there are a number of sites that are managed for the benefit of pollinators, from floral displays on roundabouts to large meadows. By adapting the mowing regimes of selected areas of grassland across Newport it will encourage native wildflowers to flourish. This will include meadows, roadside verges and various sites throughout the area.
Key sites for improved management include various roadside verges, grasslands at Allt-yr-yn Local Nature Reserve, St. Julians Local Nature Reserve, Riverside Park, Wentwood Meadow, Rogerstone, Duffryn and St Woolos Cemetery.
Shrill Carder bee project
Working with the Living Levels Project and Bumblebee Conservation Trust, areas of grassland at Percoed Reen and the Household Waste Recycling Centre are being managed for bumblebees.
Following traditional hay meadow management methods, the grass will be cut and collected each autumn to maintain low soil fertility and high species diversity and create perfect habitat for pollinators.
The Shrill Carder Bee is found in only six locations around Britain and the Gwent Levels in Newport is a hotspot for the species.
Barrack Hill is a Site of Importance in Nature Conservation (SINC), designated for its large mosaic of semi-improved wet and dry natural grassland, scrub, bracken and woodland. The project will enhance the areas ability to support nature recovery through increased active conservation management, communication and engagement with local residents.
Pilot 'leave to grow' areas
Look out for some of Newport's pilot 'leave to grow' sites as you travel around, including the A48 at Machen, Sterndale Bennett Road, Pencarn Way, Ruskin Way and Oystermouth Way.
Newport is also home to a number of protected sites and international, national and local designated special areas of conservation and special protection areas. These include:
Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) - these are designated sites under the EC Habitats and Species Directive. Together SACs and SPAs (see below) form a network of sites of European importance known as Natura 2000. SACs are protected through their designation as SSSIs
Special Protection Areas (SPAs) - these sites have regularly occurring migratory species and/or certain rare or vulnerable species.
Ramsar Sites - these are designated under the International Convention on Wetlands of International Importance especially as Waterfowl Habitat (the Ramsar Convention).
Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) - these are notified under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. They are characterised as examples of the best sites of wildlife habitats, geological features and landforms. There are 11 SSSIs covering a variety of habitats in Newport including:
- River Usk (Lower Usk)
- Severn Estuary
- Gwent Levels are six separate contiguous SSSIs (4,500ha) comprising
- Rumney and Peterstone SSSI (eastern part only)
- St. Brides SSSI
- Nash and Goldcliff SSSI
- Whitson SSSI
- Redwick and Llandevenny SSSI (all except south-eastern most portion)
- Magor and Undy SSSI (this lies adjacent to the latter, but falls outside of the NCC boundary)
- Penhow Woods
- Parc Seymour Woods
- Langstone-Llanmartin Meadows
- Plas Machen Wood
National Nature Reserve (NNR) - this is an area of high nature conservation value, managed to provide opportunities for research or to protect animals and plants and geological or topographical features of special interest.
Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINCs) - these are sites that have locally rather than internationally or nationally important wildlife. They are often referred to as ‘second tier sites’ or ‘wildlife sites’. Newport City Council has identified a number of SINCs Further details can be found in the ‘Draft Nature Conservation Strategy for Newport City Council’.
Local Nature Reserve (LNR) - these are valuable for nature conservation, local wildlife, and/or geological interest. They are often located within populated areas and provide excellent recreational and educational resources. One such site has been designated at Allt-yr-Yn and others are being considered.
Non-statutory Nature Reserves - these sites have no formal status in the local planning system, although any nature conservation value would normally be taken into consideration by the local authority in determining any potentially damaging developments on or near the site. Examples in Newport include:
- Woodland Trust Reserve at Craig y Wenallt
- Caerleon Comprehensive School Nature Reserve, Coldbath Lane, Caerleon
- Allt-yr-Yn (also a LNR)
- Ringland Wood
- Duffryn Pond
- Lodge Wood
Newport Wetlands Reserve - the Newport Wetlands Reserve was created as compensation for the loss of habitat caused by the building of the barrage in Cardiff Bay. Reedbeds, lowland wet grassland, saline lagoons, and saltmarsh have been created over 438.6 ha between Uskmouth and Goldcliff.