Neath and the surrounding area has wonderful natural assets. Whether it is the valleys, the hilltops, the canals, the parkland or the rivers, nature is on our doorstep in Neath. This is a great way to attract visitors and tourists – but it is also great as a place for us who live here to enjoy – whether it is a bit of peace and quiet, somewhere for the kids to have fun or a way to stay healthy walking through our beautiful landscape.

Our natural assets are free and generally pretty accessible. It is important we keep them that way, and to make sure they are protected and enhanced for all our benefit.

I will be working to ensure we do all we can to preserve our natural heritage locally so if you belong to a local group – whether it’s community growing, path clearing, rambling, or conservation and would like to talk about working together to do that, please do get in touch.

Local biodiversity. This year, a number of AMs agreed to champion an endangered species of animal to try to make sure we don’t lose any more numbers and to raise awareness of what we can do to help. It’s obviously great for the animals, but also it is really important for our biodiversity and the health of our environment locally.

Some AMs got puffins or salmon. I agreed to champion the Common Toad. Maybe a bit less exotic – but we have Common Toad communities in Neath which need our help. In the spring I will be out with local environmental groups to try to help toads crossroads so they can get to their breeding grounds safely. Keep your eyes open for them and if you’re on Twitter and you see a Common Toad in your garden, tweet me a photo of it #TweetMyToad. You can help make your gardens more welcoming for them – they love leaf piles, compost heaps, rough grass and plant beds. And they are great for keeping slugs under control.

Growing and sharing. Lastly, if you have a bit of land outside your house which you are finding it hard to look after, or if you are interested in gardening or growing food but have nowhere to do it, please get in touch. With our Plough/Share project we are aiming to pair up people who want to grow food (usually much cheaper than buying it) but have nowhere to do it, with people who have a bit of spare garden, but may not have the time, health or inclination to grow food – but are happy for someone else to do it in their garden and then to share the crops between them.

Get in touch for more details of Plough/Share.

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