£2m Meres and Mosses Landscape Partnership Scheme launched by Chair of Natural England

Friday 2nd November 2012

An ambitious £2m, five-year programme across North Shropshire, South Cheshire, Wales and West Staffordshire is to be launched by Poul Christensen CBE, Chairman of Natural England on Friday 2 November at the Boathouse, Ellesmere.

The lunchtime event will include a key-note speech by Poul Christensen, short presentations on the scheme and the opportunity for guests to talk to members of the Landscape Partnership Scheme delivery team.

Launching the project Poul Christensen said: ‘Today is the culmination of a great deal of hard work by local people to transform their countryside for the better. It can also be the springboard to a more prosperous future. One in which a healthy natural environment provides the firm foundations for a thriving rural economy -  a safe haven for wildlife, food for our table, work for local people and a stunning landscape for everyone  to enjoy.’

The scheme encompasses a Heritage Lottery funded Landscape Partnership and a Nature Improvement Area supported by DEFRA and Natural England.  The Nature Improvement Area is one of only twelve awarded in England from over 75 applications.  Both are being managed by a team led by the Shropshire Wildlife Trust.  Other funders include the Jean Jackson Charitable Trust, Northern Marches Leader, Tudor Griffiths Group and RSPB.

The overall aim is to restore and conserve enduring sustainable habitats benefiting both wildlife and people

Delivering the remits of several government agencies, projects will address water quality, conservation, habitat restoration, community engagement, improved access, education & skills and heritage restoration.  The overall aim is to restore and conserve enduring sustainable habitats benefiting both wildlife and people and to promote the region both locally and nationally.

A brand new, eco-friendly wildlife hide and learning centre is being built at Wood Lane Nature Reserve.  As well as being available to the general public, this will support a programme of John Muir award primary school educational programmes where children will learn about the significance and wildlife of the Meres and Mosses landscape.  Five new circular walk extensions to the Shropshire Way and a family trail at Bickley Hall farm will all be finished before the end of 2012, beginning a programme of increased public access to some of the gems of the Meres and Mosses.

Conservation work will be carried out on three key Sites of Special Scientific Interest, Brown Moss, Whitemere and Colemere; this will include community engagement to allow local people to have their say and get involved in the management of the sites.  In concert with this, landowners will be contacted to identify opportunities for providing further protection for these and other key sites and to join sites together via habitat corridors and stepping stones.  Farm grants are available.

There will also be the opportunity for communities to learn how to conduct wildlife surveys and help take responsibility for environments which support endangered species.  Grants are available for projects which support conservation within a community.

The old air traffic control tower at Prees Heath will also be restored as part of the programme.  This will be carried out by Butterfly Conservation as they own the site.  Local communities will be involved in this project too.

Editors Notes
• For more information on the Meres & Mosses Landscape Partnership Scheme please contact Peter Moss OBE, Meres & Mosses Programme Manager on 01743 284274

• The Meres & Mosses Landscape Partnership Scheme is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
• The scheme also encompasses a DEFRA funded Nature Improvement Area.
• The partnership consists of; Butterfly Conservation, Canal & River Trust, Shropshire Council, Natural England, Environment Agency, Harper Adams University College, Cheshire Wildlife Trust, Shropshire Wildlife Trust, RSPB, Shropshire Rural Community Council.
• The programme will run for 5 years until November 2017, providing advice and grants to landowners and parish councils and other community groups, deliver heritage and fun skills, conservation work, wildlife surveys with community volunteers, community peat coring & archaeology project, extend parts of the Shropshire Way to include meres and mosses as well as providing education to schools.
• Other funders are: The Jean Jackson Trust, Shropshire Wildlife Trust, Environment Agency, RSPB, Northern Marches LEADER.
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• Website will be available early in 2013.


Tagged with: Living Landscapes