Appendix 1 Activities and achievements

By Joyce Johnson,2014-04-18 00:17
10 views 0
Appendix 1 Activities and achievements

Appendix 2: Activities and achievements

    1.1 Our first activity was the Community Renewable Energy Project. This is establishing

    a number of small community-based water, wind, solar and wood-fuel schemes and is

    working towards a strategy for “greening” the local energy economy. It has brought

    around ?300,000 into the local economy and raised awareness of energy issues, as

    well as placing the Dyfi valley at the forefront of involving local people with renewable

    energy. Its activities also strengthen a „cluster‟ of specialist businesses, which are

    important to the local economy. Main funders are the European Commission (ERDF

    5b), the Welsh Development Agency and the Shell Better Britain Campaign. Powys

    County Council and Dulas Ltd provide invaluable support. The work will be continued

    through several new European-funded projects being co-ordinated by Powys Energy

    Agency. The WDA and CCW are supporting these and ecodyfi will receive a fee. 1.2 Ecodyfi‟s Sustainable Tourism Project began in June 2001 and employs Teresa

    Walters part-time. It is establishing the first tourism association for the area and

    developing and promoting sustainable and community tourism. It is funded by the

    Wales Tourist Board, ELWa and Powys and Gwynedd Councils. We succeeded in

    obtaining “Rural Tourism Growth Area” status for the valley from the Wales Tourist

    Board and will be centrally involved in managing the resulting action plan. 1.3 Ecodyfi established and operates the Dyfi Solar Club and is a partner in the Brecon

    Beacons Solar Club. It has received Environment Wales funding to expand the service

    into the rest of Powys. These Clubs facilitate solar water heating installations managed

    by the householders themselves - including training those who wish to install their

    system themselves. We are increasing the number of heating engineers competent in

    this field.

    1.4 Ecodyfi was a partner with the World-Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) in delivering a

    Forest Quality” project, to assess stakeholders‟ views of the wooded landscape and

    look for opportunities for improvement.

    1.5 We have received Environment Wales and Powys County Council funding to begin

    working on waste minimisation. We are working with the Centre for Alternative

    Technology to promote home composting and with Ysgol Glantwymyn on a school

    project. Grant-aid for a follow-on project is being negotiated with Environment Wales,

    Powys County Council and Enfys.

    1.6 We carried out an initial community consultation exercise during August and

    September 2001 in the Glantwymyn community council area, funded by JIGSO. This

    identified individuals willing to get involved in the two main issues which emerged

    namely, waste minimisation and local produce.

    1.7 Our members have played a significant role in cycling development, including

    helping to organise the Machynlleth & Dyfi valley Cyclefest.

    1.8 The organisation and the area have benefited from significant exposure in the media

    and at conferences. These include a dedicated programme in Radio 4‟s Changing

    Places series, a feature in Green Futures magazine and presentations to the Planning

    Inspectorate, the National Assembly Sustainable Energy Group and conferences

    organised by Pembrokeshire National Park and the Centre for Sustainable Energy for

    local authorities and others.

    1.9 Our website is about to be launched. We intend to develop it into

    a major promotional tool for the area and its businesses.

Appendix 6

    Project ideas suggested in response to DEVP consultations spring 2002


    FEAS needs professional feasibility study

    ENT potential for new social or private sector enterprise

    CAP significant capital expenditure

    TGA may come within action plan for Dyfi rural Tourism Growth Area CC suggested by a Town or Community Council

    Cymad Cymad already working on this proposal

Whole-valley or not specific in location

    ; “Ecodovey notion – a new look at access to the countryside?” (product and marketing

    ideas relevant to tourism) TGA

    ; Paths along river banks as a tourism asset TGA

    ; Road signs & information points at valley boundary TGA

    ; Joint initiative between farming and tourism interests e.g. cycling TGA ; “Green” tourism generally (x3) TGA

    ; Promote and support sustainable tourism based on land assets TGA ; “Dyfinet” (wire-less broadband access) and stimulation of value-creating activities to take

    advantage of it e.g. video, IT and other media businesses, with possibility of consultancy

    and installation service FEAS, ENT, CAP

    ; An association or agency for small businesses offering building services (e.g. architectural,

    building, plumbing, heating, electrics) to enable larger jobs to be tackled and make skills-

    sharing (including apprenticeships) more likely

    ; Provision of a “shop-front”, client meeting space and administrative services for the

    members of such a building association

    ; Lime and hemp in buildings market development / technical development / showcase

    activities / local growing of suitable cultivars ENT, FEAS? ; Exploring relationship between economic development and spiritual / personal


    ; Local enterprise agency business support including training

    ; Proactive business linking annual visits to promote inter-trading

    ; Organisation of Welsh entertainment for visitors (x2) TGA, CC ; Hotel large enough for coach parties FEAS, ENT, CAP, TGA, CC ; “Farming Century” interpretation and demonstration of 100 years of farming methods on a

    farm FEAS, ENT, CAP, TGA, CC

    ; A rare breeds centre FEAS, ENT, CAP

    ; Promote and support conversions to organic farming

    ; Strengthen papurau bro e.g. part-time professional editor post ; Integrated bus and rail transport with interchangeable tickets ; Better public transport (x3)

    ; Village recycling sites

    ; Athletic Club for young people

; Free PR / marketing service for businesses

    ; Permanent display of goods available in the area

    ; Wood-fired power station FEAS, CAP

    ; Connect all properties to the electricity grid or provide an alternative CAP

    ; Market travel / accommodation / activities packages FEAS, ENT, TGA ; Non-profit company to oversee local slaughter, processing, packaging, distribution and

    marketing of local lamb and beef FEAS?, ENT, CAP?, CC ; Marketing of products and services of small local businesses CC ; Buying agent for small shops to increase buying power CC ; A “green” conference centre FEAS, TGA

    ; Smokehouse for seafood (mackeral) and sheep FEAS, ENT, CAP ; Local brewery FEAS, ENT, CAP

    ; Encourage and train for self-build housing

    ; Car-share system

    ; New experimental settlements, eco-housing estates CAP ; “Co-operative” or similar retail outlet for local produce FEAS

    ; Subsidised childcare (x2)

    ; Increase understanding that sustainability isn‟t just an environmental issue

    ; Play facilities

Ceredigion location

    ; Incubator workshops in Talybont CAP

    ; Make more of RSPB Ynyshir

Gwynedd location

    ; Develop Corris Railway e.g. rolling stock (x3) CAP ; Improve Corris Institute CAP

    ; Slate trails around in Corris area, including former railbed from Corris to Aberllefenni

    interpret and market CC

    ; Llyn Cob (environmental improvements and interpretation at Aberllefenni) ; Corris area recycling facilities

    ; Workshop space in Pantperthog chapel FEAS, CAP

    ; Timber mill at Pantperthog FEAS, ENT

    ; Upgrade play areas at Corris

    ; Mountain bike trails around Corris with FE CC

    ; Enhance Corris Youth Club CC

    ; Cycle and footpaths around Dinas Mawddwy Cymad, TGA

    ; Develop work spaces for wood-related businesses on Council yard at Dinas Mawddwy

     CAP, Cymad

    ; Interpretative Centre for the Mawddwy area, possibly with workshops / artisans at work on

    the same site FEAS, CAP, TGA

    ; Llanbrynmair Moors “re-moorification” with associated wildlife tourism Cymad

    ; Bus shelter and real-time display of vehicle movements in Pennal CAP ; Cycle / footpath across the river at Dyfi junction

; Recycling bank at Pennal (x2)

    ; Community composting scheme at Pennal

    ; Higher rail platform at Aberdyfi station CAP

    ; Community garden in Upper Corris

Powys location

    ; Mach Teenzone (wheeled facility) CAP

    ; Machynlleth Foyer CAP

    ; Manage Cwmllinau Common

    ; Replace play facilities at Cwmllinau

    ; Restore footpath by stream in Cwmllinau

    ; Refurbish Cwmllinau village hall

    ; Community-owned petrol station around Llanbrynmair FEAS, ENT, CC ; Non-profit company to develop housing for local need on serviced sites at Dolfach and

    Llanwrin FEAS?, ENT, CAP, CC

    ; Develop high-spec offices on former Llanbrynmair Highways Depot as teleworking

    “satellite” sites for large companies FEAS, CC, CAP

    ; “American Connection Centre” to interpret the emigrations and assist those tracing their

    roots FEAS, ENT, CAP, TGA, CC

    ; “Wind energy interpretation centre” with minibus tours at Llanbrynmair or Glantwymyn


    ; Wooden Castle / Fort at Tafolwern, Llanbrynmair (unstaffed attraction paid for through

    tokens) FEAS, ENT, CAP, TGA, CC

    ; “The Judge‟s Residence” at Plas Llwyn Owen in Bont Dolgadfan (visitor attraction with

    mobile audio interpretation) FEAS, ENT, CAP, TGA, CC ; Upgrade village hall at Aberhosan e.g. toilets

    ; All-weather floodlit sports pitch at Machynlleth (x2) CAP ; Cyfeiliog History Project visitor centre at Aberhosan (ICT-based interpretation of

    Wynnstay Estate) FEAS, CAP, TGA

    ; Make more of Owain Glyndŵr connection; upgrade the Parliament House exhibition (x2)

     CAP, TGA

    ; Build banks along lower Dyfi to prevent flooding CAP

    ; Refurbish the abandoned Guides building behind Station Garage in Machynlleth


    ; A “Town Hall” with sound-proofed concert hall and meeting room CAP

    ; Re-open stations at Glantwymyn and Llanbrynmair CAP

    ; Pathway from Bont Bricks to Station Garage at Llanbrynmair

Appendix 7

Dyfi Eco Valley

Appendix 8

    The Dyfi Valley


    ; Section 1 describes the valley and starts to tease out some of the socio-economic factors at work.

    ; In Section 2, employment by industry data provide the basis for a discussion of change in the local economy.

    ; Section 3 examines the levels of community, drawing on both location and socio-economic approaches.

    ; Section 4 justifies the use of the term rural.

    ; Section 5 is concerned with models of economic development.


There is no dispute over whether the Dyfi valley is a “rural” area, but examining the extent to

    which it is a “community” is more complex. Likewise, “economic development” can mean different things to different people. This report draws on statistics from the 1991 Census and other sources to relate these terms to the Dyfi Valley.


1.1 Location

    The Dyfi river starts its journey at Aran Fawddwy, in the south-eastern corner of Snowdonia National Park. Its wide estuary encompasses the contrasting yet equally popular resorts of Aberdyfi and Borth as well as internationally important wetlands and dune systems. The communities clustering around its many tributaries form part of today‟s Mid Wales, but are right on the dividing line for traditionalists who think of Wales as comprising North and South.

The land area of the whole river catchment is some 650 km2. The northern part is separated

    from the rugged Cadair Idris range only by Talyllyn lake, while the southern portion rises strongly towards the more rounded Pumlumon range. To the east, however, it‟s the gentle

    Montgomeryshire lowlands which lie the other side of the Talerddig pass.

    For the purpose of this assignment, the Dyfi Valley will be taken to comprise the following Community Council areas:

    ; In Gwynedd - Aberdyfi, Pennal, Corris and Mawddwy

    ; In Powys - Machynlleth, Cadfarch, Glantwymyn, Llanbrynmair

    ; In Ceredigion - Llangynfelin, Borth, Genau‟r Glyn, Ceulanamaesmawr, Ysguborycoed.

    It should be noted at the outset that this is a generous definition of the Dyfi Valley. In the north west, Aberdyfi (despite its name) is often separated from the rest of the valley - sometimes coupled instead with its rival just around the coast, Tywyn. In the south, Borth, Genau‟r Glyn and even Ceulanamaesmawr could all justifiably be left out if the criteria were primarily economic and social rather than geophysical.

1.2 People

    The former depopulation of the area has been reversed of late. Machynlleth, for example, saw a 1.75% increase between 1981 and 1991. This disguises, however, two opposing trends common in rural Wales: a continuing net outflow of 15 - 24 year-olds is set against increases in the oldest age groups. This latter trend is due mainly to in-migration from England.

    There has also been a significant inflow of younger people, many of whom have been encouraged by the existence of the Centre for Alternative Technology.

    Although the proportion of people who speak Welsh has declined, the area remains part of the “Welsh heartlands”. There is considerable variation in this ability, from 30% in Aberdyfi and 44% in Borth to 75% in the mid and upper Dyfi. Some 60% of people in Machynlleth town, Corris and north Ceredigion

    are Welsh speakers.

    Unemployment rates in the Machynlleth travel to work area are generally the second highest in Powys. Rates are higher in the Dolgellau area (which includes the Meirionnydd part of the valley), but these are still lower than the Welsh average (Digest). Economic activity is described in a later section.

1.3 Administration and communications

    There are just over 12,000 people living in the Dyfi Valley, in some 5,000 households. Machynlleth, with a population of 2,000, is the main town and focus. Almost as many, however, live in the two southernmost Community Council areas of Borth and Genau‟r Glyn (combined). 40% of the population lives in Powys (though they generally still owe their allegiance to the former county of Montgomeryshire). Ceredigion and Gwynedd claim 30% each.

    Living where three counties meet - and some considerable distance from the political centres of gravity of these local authorities - many people feel remote from where decisions are taken. Most of the Gwynedd area within the Dyfi Valley is past of the Snowdonia National Park. Corris was left out because of the scars left by a history of slate quarrying.

    Machynlleth is the focus of the local railway system. The two arms of the Cambrian Coast meet the line to Newtown (and England) here and it has the highest concentration of railway employees on the line. Its famous town clock at the T junction in the middle of town, however, marks the boundary between bus administrative areas. Bws Gwynedd supports a good level

    of service (for a rural area) towards the north, but Powys is more sparsely served. Those waiting for connections do not have the benefit of shelters.

    It is worth noting that 22.4% of households in the valley do not have a car, despite the difficulty of relying on a public transport system where many villages only have one bus a day - and none in school holidays.

    Lon Las Cymru, the Wales National Cycle Route, passes through the area. Machynlleth will host one of the flagship Millennium Bridges to carry walkers and cyclists safely over a new Dyfi crossing. This is awakening interest which fits well with the Dyfi‟s strong UK-wide

    reputation in the growing sport of the Triathlon.

1.4 Services

    Strong community support, expressed through the “Friends” organisation, has helped the District Hospital to survive reviews of several medical services in recent years, but not the separate Machynlleth and Corris Hospital, which was built by public subscription earlier this century. Fierce local pride has sustained its conversion to a multi-purpose Health Centre, run by a local independent Trust. It houses a Citizen‟s Advice Bureau and a self-help group for

    the mentally ill, amongst other services.

    The primary schools are all Welsh-medium and many have associated pre-school groups run by Mudiad Ysgolion Meithrin. They feed the second-smallest secondary school in the UK, Ysgol Bro Ddyfi, which maintains streams in both languages. Some parents prefer to send their children to the English-medium school in Aberystwyth, partly because of the wider curricular choice there and partly in a search for a more academic culture. Further Education requires a journey of at least 15 miles - to Aberystwyth, Dolgellau or Newtown. The independent Children‟s Project has established shining examples of voluntary sector Nurseries, Holiday and After School Clubs. Several organisations offer adult education, with mixed success.

    Despite the existence of a Youth Club, Scouts, Guides and Woodcraft Folk, there is a common perception that facilities for young people in Machynlleth are poor. A snooker club meets in the voluntarily-run Owain Glyndwr Institute and the Leisure Centre is very good for such a small population. However, the main meeting place (the Drill Hall) and the Scout Hut are both sub-standard. Young Farmers‟ Clubs provide the main youth focus out of town.

    The Tabernacl cultural centre, located in a converted chapel, is a remarkable asset for a small town. It has been established through voluntary effort and one family‟s patronage. It houses the Welsh Museum of Modern Art as well as a concert auditorium and teaching spaces. There are five Welsh-medium choirs in the valley as well as two community choirs who attract mainly English-speakers. Many people are involved in social activities based around Women‟s Institutes, Merched y Wawr, chapels and the usual range of clubs and societies.


    The area continues to face the challenge of a shift in emphasis from primary industries to a service-based economy, whilst maintaining a significant manufacturing sector. This is reflected in the balance of occupations shown in the Appendix and described below.

2.1 Primary industries

    Almost a quarter of the workforce is employed in the primary industries: the great majority of these are in agriculture; small numbers are in forestry, quarrying, energy and water supply; and hardly anybody is employed in the fishing industry. The comparable figure for the former Development Board for Rural Wales area is 13.9%, indicating that the Dyfi valley is much more dependent on agriculture than is Rural Wales as a whole.

This is primarily because the representation of agriculture in the DBRW area is “diluted” by

    large non-agricultural workforces in the towns. Indeed, this can be seen within the valley: Machynlleth has only 3.7% of its residents employed in agriculture, forestry and fishing. Some correlation between the proportion of the workforce engaged in these industries and the size of settlements can be traced in the other Community Council areas. The five areas which are within Powys and Gwynedd but exclude Machynlleth and Aberdyfi contain only small villages and collectively have a comparable workforce of 31.6%.

    This argument should not be taken too far, however. As we shall see later, factors such as proximity to towns and concentrations of tourism businesses confuse such a simple correlation. It is not possible, therefore, to use the proportion of employment in agriculture, forestry and fishing as an indicator of fine degrees of rurality within areas. At a grosser level, however, it is useful. The Wales figure, for example, is a mere 2.2%. The “DBRW” figure is 9.5%.

2.1.1 Quarrying

    The shift away from the primary sector began early in the century with the decline of the extractive industries - primarily of slate in the Corris/Aberllefenni valleys. The local slate quarries came late to a market already dominated by north Wales and only one of the former ten quarries has had the quality of product and the management tenacity to survive. 2.1.2 Agriculture

    Agriculture is dominated by hill farming of sheep on poor quality land. Margins have always been poor for these small family-run units and recent falls in incomes are threatening their survival. Many have been diversifying into tourism and leisure, mainly through bed and breakfast operations but also through farm visits, quad trecking and a shooting ground. Some have obtained rental income from wind energy developments and others are managing small native woodlands and marketing their products with the help of Coed Cymru.

2.1.3 Forestry

    Commercial forestry is a major land use. Most of it was planted 25-35 years ago and is due for felling. Timber prices for pulp have fallen to levels where extraction is close to being unprofitable on some sites. This is due to over-supply in the market (partly because of recycling in the UK, the US and Germany) and to concentration of the processing industry into a few companies.

2.1.4 Economic development strategies

    Although these primary industries are aware of the desirability of adding value to their products by processing them before they leave the local economy, not much of this occurs. Oddly, while the slate quarry manufactures monumental and other items, the several craft businesses in Corris don‟t include a worker of smaller slate items. There is a part-time

    abattoir in Machynlleth but new supervisory requirements threaten its viability. The next nearest facility is in Llanidloes, but much livestock is killed further afield. Only one of the two small sawmills is still operating, though several farmers have facilities for planking.

    Quality is the other issue to be receiving attention by the more far-sighted operators. For example, the local abattoir raises the possibility of obtaining a premium for meat which can be traced from birth to shop. The two organic vegetable growers cannot satisfy demand and buy in much of their produce.

    Case study

    „Rachel‟s Dairy‟ illustrates the potential for diversification, adding value and emphasising quality. Brynllys, near Borth, has always been farmed organically. Starting from the processing of milk which was surplus to quota, the organic yogurt (and other dairy products) business has grown rapidly. It now supplies supermarkets across the UK from its factory in Aberystwyth and struggles to source enough milk from other organic farmers to meet demand. Business expansion has concentrated on this, rather than on the educational farm visits business which they also entered.

    Locally, energy represents a growth sector. Most of the activity is in renewable energy services, but there is also some generation. The prevalent model for wind farms, however, replicates the pattern familiar in rural areas: international capital funds the development, creates some local employment, but also repatriates most of the profit. An alternative model is being promoted by the Dyfi Eco Valley Partnership. Its Community Renewable Energy project seeks to stimulate community-based developments which maximise local investment and benefit. It also seeks to reduce the “leakage” to the local economy which results from most expenditure on energy. As such, it is an example of attempts to increase the robustness of a rural economy through increased self-reliance.

Report this document

For any questions or suggestions please email