WORK is underway to remove an invasive plant species at Merthyr Mawr Warren National Nature Reserve to protect the dunes.
Two diggers are on site to help clear the non-native sea buckthorn, which has previously been managed with the help of volunteers but has now become widespread.
The work has been commissioned by Bridgend County Borough Council under the Dunes 2 Dunes project, which aims to preserve and enhance the sand dune landscapes at Kenfig and Merthyr Mawr Warren.
Cllr Charles Smith, Cabinet Member for Education and Regeneration said:
”While the council no longer manages the overall site, we continue to be involved in the Dunes 2 Dunes project and this vital work will help to restore the natural habitat on the dunes and allow wildflowers to return in the summer, improving conditions for bumblebees, other pollinators and birds.
In the 1840s, sea buckthorn was planted at the dunes, which are a Site of Special Scientific Interest and form part of the Kenfig Special Area of Conservation, to stop sand movement but the non-native species has quickly colonised, affecting the dynamic nature of sand dune growth and erosion.
The area was assessed for nesting birds before work began and we have worked with Natural Resources Wales and the landowners, Merthyr Mawr Estate, to secure the necessary permissions. The removal works are anticipated to be finished by the weekend.