This series of podcasts produced for the Rural Futures Hub, by Business News Wales, will discuss challenges and opportunities facing rural areas, drawing upon current rural research at Aberystwyth University, in discussion with local stakeholders.
Podcast 1 – Access to rural health services with consideration of ageing, digital connectivity, and transport.
The first podcast in the series focuses on access to rural health services with consideration of ageing, digital connectivity, and transport. In this podcast of the Rural Futures Hub series, brought to you by Business News Wales, host Carwyn Jones speaks with Dr Rachel Rahman and Prof Charles Musselwhite, from the Psychology department, Aberystwyth University and Mr Huw Thomas the Director of Finance from Hywel Dda UHB.
Living in rural areas can be beneficial for health and well-being in many ways, for example access to green spaces and lower levels of pollution. However, once facing ill-health accessing health and care services can pose significant challenges for rural residents. This podcast will discuss research by Aberystwyth academics that considers how physical access to services can be promoted or hindered by rural transport infrastructures, and whether technology is a viable solution for improving access to services with a specific focus on ageing populations and the economic costs of rural health delivery.
Podcast 2 – Is Regenerative Tourism the Future for Rural Wales?
The second podcast in the series focuses on whether regenerative tourism is the future for Rural Wales. In this podcast of the Rural Futures Hub series, brought to you by Business News Wales, host Carwyn Jones speaks with Prof. Michael Woods and Dr Mandy Talbot from Aberystwyth University and Dafydd Wyn Morgan from the Cambrian Mountains Initiative.
Tourism is a major contributor to the economy of rural Wales, but concerns around the over-concentration of visitors and their environment, social and cultural impact has made tourism increasingly controversial in many rural communities. Could regenerative tourism be part of the answer? A recent buzzword in the travel industry, regenerative tourism is about tourism that puts more into a place than it takes out. It goes beyond sustainable tourism as an approach focused on community interests that seeks to balance economic, natural, social and cultural capital. This podcast discusses work by Aberystwyth University and the Cambrian Mountains Initiative to develop a vision for regenerative tourism in rural Wales, exploring opportunities and challenges, and what regenerative tourism might look like in practice.
Podcast 3 – Future options for managing UK farmland to maximise environmental benefits.
The third podcast in the series focuses on what the future options are for managing UK farmland to maximise environmental benefits. In this podcast of the Rural Futures Hub series, brought to you by Business News Wales, host Carwyn Jones speaks with Prof Mike Christie and Prof Mariecia Fraser from Aberystwyth University and Jerry Langford from the Woodland Trust.
Brexit provides opportunities for the UK government and devolved administrations to develop new ways of targeting agricultural support to better align with policies that address the climate and ecological crises. This podcast will draw on expertise of Aberystwyth University professors Mike Christie and Mariecia Fraser to explore policy options that promote carbon-friendly farming and nature conservation, along with other ‘ecosystem services’ such as flood protection and providing opportunities for people to enjoy the outdoors. We will also discuss approaches that can be used to assess the value of these environmental benefits to help ensure such policies provide value for money.
Podcast 4 – Rural and Farm Crime in Wales
The fourth podcast in the series focuses on Rural and Farm Crime in Wales. In this podcast of the Rural Futures Hub series, brought to you by Business News Wales, host Carwyn Jones speaks with Dr Wyn Morris and Dr Gareth Norris, both from Aberystwyth University, alongside Dafydd Llywelyn Police and Crime Commissioner for Dyfed Powys Police.
There is a growing interest in rural crime and the interaction with, and the importance of, rural communities more generally. The global pandemic and Brexit have brought to the forefront issues that have illustrated the boundaries between rural and urban environments; features such as food security, supply chains, and tourism, highlight how these locations must coexist.
The countryside as a place of leisure during the Covid lockdowns brought many people into contact with rural police and rural communities, for example, large numbers of visitors to beauty spots across Wales and owners of second homes visiting residences from other countries during restricted movement periods. We discuss the case of Dyfed-Powys police where their upward trajectory in terms of investment in police personnel, infrastructure and policy initiatives has clearly impacted upon the way in which rural crime is reported and responded to. The podcast contributes to wider debates on the effects and responses to farm and rural crime.
Podcast 5 – Alternative Proteins and Farming in the Future
In this podcast of the Rural Futures Hub series, brought to you by Business News Wales, host Carwyn Jones speaks with Prof Alison Kingston Smith, Aberystwyth University, Prof Joe Gallagher, Aberystwyth University and Dr Catherine Howarth, Aberystwyth University, with a focus on alternative proteins and farming in the future, including options such as the production of protein from red clover, insects, and oats.
The UK typically imports over £3 million tonnes of soy every year. This comes mostly from South America but USA is also a producer. Just under half of imported soy is used for animal feed, the remainder as human food. Soy turns up in a variety of processed foods as it is an excellent source of protein. For instance, tofu is basically a cheese made from processed soy beans.
To support global demand for soy there has been extensive clearance of rainforest in South America, with obvious consequences for climate change. Since 1990 the area of Brazilian Amazon used for soy cultivation has increased seven-fold. This is not sustainable (or ethical?). Finally, dependence of many industries on one product, and a limited supply chain is a risk at individual business and national level.
We therefore need to find alternatives to soy, ideally that can be home grown and fit a sustainable farming future profile.