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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 December 2005, 11:45 GMT
3m visitors' centre for wetlands
Newport Wetlands
The wetlands cover 438 hectares and are home to many bird species
More than 3m has been awarded for a new visitors' centre at the wetlands at Newport in south Wales.

The wetlands were set up five years ago and have become a successful habitat for birds, insects and rare plants.

The Countryside Council for Wales, which owns the reserve, said the new centre would offer more people the chance to enjoy wildlife from 2007.

The funding has come from the Welsh Assembly Government, the Wales Tourist Board and Newport city council.

The Newport wetlands are on the eastern edge of the city along the shore of the Severn estuary.

The site used to consist of storage lagoons for fuel ash from the nearby Uskmouth power station.

Now the reserve attracts a variety of birds including the wigeon and pintail.

The money will fund a new visitors and education centre, to open in the summer of 2007 at the site, and which it is hoped will attract more people to the area.

'Considerable benefits'

The minister for economic development Andrew Davies said the money would help the wetlands to develop into a major tourist attraction.

"This is an excellent community project which will bring considerable benefits for the whole city," he said.

"The new visitors' centre and education facility will provide a programme of environmental activities and will allow increasing numbers of people to enjoy the natural environment offered by the wetlands centre."

Newport city councillor Ray Truman said he hoped more people would now make the most of the wildlife site.

"This is a fantastic facility located on Newport's doorstep," he said.

"With the development of a visitor and education centre, the wetlands will truly have something to offer everyone."

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