University hosts Welsh Assembly visit

The Committee visiting IBERS

The Committee visiting IBERS

21 February 2014

Aberystwyth University hosted a visit of the Welsh Assembly’s Environment and Sustainability Committee this week.

The Committee has a remit to examine legislation and hold the Welsh Government to account by scrutinising expenditure, administration and policy matters encompassing: the maintenance, development and planning of Wales’s natural environment and energy resources.

Amongst the experts presenting evidence to the Committee on the Inquiry into Sustainable Land Management were leading academics from the University’s Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences.  Professor Jamie Newbold and Professor Iain Donnison presented the case for the University, outlining possible futures for sustainable land management in Wales.

Professor Jamie Newbold explained: “In our view, sustainable land management in Wales needs to be forward-looking.  Wales must embrace the knowledge that research on land use and ecosystems is providing and the opportunities provided by advances in plant and animal biotechnology.

“Our future farm must provide more nutritious food, in quantity and quality, in a way that is both carbon-neutral and recognises and respects that biodiversity and ecosystem services are inter-dependent. The overarching challenge to meet this goal is the need to balance the competing priorities of resource supply security, economic development and environmental conservation.”

In addition to hosting the Committee, the University also provided a tour of the state of the art facilities at the University’s IBERS Gogerddan Campus, led by Professor Chris Thomas, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research and interim Director of IBERS.  The tour included a visit to the National Plant Phenomics Centre, the Translational Genomics Laboratories and the BEACON facility.  The tour was followed by a series of presentations by senior academics at the University, which provided an insight into the broad range of research into sustainability undertaken at Aberystwyth.

Welcoming the Committee to the University, Professor April McMahon, Vice-Chancellor, said: “I am delighted that the University has been able to host this important Committee meeting.  The environment, sustainability and conservation, on a local and global scale are of great importance to Aberystwyth University.  Our researchers are leading numerous research developments which have a significant impact on global challenges and I am pleased that our elected representatives have been able to take account of the University’s developments in the field.”

Members of the Welsh Assembly’s Environment and Sustainability Committee include Lord Dafydd Elis-Thomas, Llyr Huws Gruffydd, William Powell, Antoinette Sandbach, Russell George, Julie James, Juile Morgan, Joyce Watson and Mick Antoniw.