Having inherited, and now read, the contents of two boxes which comprise the archive of minutes and correspondence of the Llanelli Naturalists I have a much clearer picture of the original aims and past activities and achievements since it began in 1973.
Apart from recording species and habitats, the social aspects and education, a recurrent theme is the society's contribution to the local planning process by alerting the planning department to threats arising from proposed developments. This facet is important and must continue but I am disappointed by statutory consultees' reluctance to go beyond voicing concern when wildlife and environment are likely to be adversely affected by new developments. These bodies, and the County Council itself, have responsibilities to protect locally and nationally valued species and sites for the future, as well as taking account of economic advantages in the shorter term.
Compounded by public apathy, our natural heritage has all too few committed advocates. I think our mission for the future should be to raise its profile in the planning context to match that of local regeneration and hope that the official guardians then feel confident to bare their teeth when required. Public awareness and understanding of local environmental issues is critical and is a role which we understand well but we need to widen our audience so please tell others about Llanelli Naturalists and encourage them to come to meetings.
Andrew Stevens, 8th March 2009