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Environmental Outdoor Charter Group

A steering group was established at the inaugural meeting of the North Wales Environmental Outdoor Charter Group (NWEOCG) to take it forward and shape the group’s core objectives.

Over twenty people attended the meeting in The Heights last Monday evening to discuss the part they felt it could play in the sustainable development of the outdoor sector. The relevance and practicality of such a charter for the region was first formally discussed in February 2010 at Plas Tan y Bwlch and its formation brings it into line with Wales' other two National Parks, Pembrokeshire and the Brecon Beacons, who already have environmental charters in place.

The Group's newly appointed co-ordinator, Catherine Miles, explained how the well-established Pembrokeshire Outdoor Charter Group (POCG) and the South Wales Outdoor Activity Providers Group (SWOAPG) worked. Currently, these two groups along with Snowdonia-Active, the umbrella organisation for the new charter group, sit alongside each other as part of the Wales Activity Tourism Organisation (WATO).

It was stressed that although there are differences between north Wales and the areas where the other groups operate it is worth learning lessons from the way they are run so as to not ‘reinvent the wheel’. WATO is a means of effectively disseminating ideas and allows the three organisations to share good practice across the outdoor sector in Wales. 85% of activity providers can be reached through WATO.

Catherine summarised the fundamental foundations of the charter from the proposal for NWEOCG as: enabling activity providers in north Wales to be proactive when it comes to the continuing debate on sustainability and environmental impact, be a cohesive voice for consultation with external agencies, conservationists and land managers, and to ensure the sustainable management of activity venues.

Ashley Charlwood from Canoe Wales and Canolfan Tryweryn suggested that the charter message, although initially aimed at activity providers, could be broadened out over time to include clubs. The meeting split into two discussion groups to broadly look at priorities and the scope of the charter. Useful input came from the statutory bodies in attendance such as the Countryside Council for Wales, Snowdonia National Park and Wales Environment Agency. A steering group was formed to take the charter forward. Minutes from the meeting can be downloaded here.

Following the meeting Catherine Miles said: "It was good to hear that everyone recognised the need for the outdoor sector to have a cohesive voice in order to proactively deal with environmental issues. It's important that we recognise our responsibility in minimising our impact on the outdoors. To start with we are primarily working with outdoor activity providers but the ethos will be widely applicable to any person or group using north Wales' fantastic natural resources."

The Countryside Council for Wales and Tourism Partnership North Wales were thanked for providing funding for the project until at least March 2013. If you were unable to attend the meeting but would like to be kept up-to-date on future developments or have a comment you'd like to make, email Catherine Miles at chartergroup@snowdonia-active.com

Related News Items: Outdoor Charter Group Co-ordinator (26/07/2012), N.Wales Environmental Outdoor Charter Group (19.6.12), Outdoor Charter Group (24.2.10)

Topic: North Wales Environmental Outdoor Charter Group.

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