Project to revitalise former coalfields wins lottery funding
A ambitious and innovative project involving The University of Manchester's School of Environment, Education and Development to restore nature in places where heavy industry ruled for more than a century has been awarded almost £2 million by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The 'Carbon Landscape – Restoring Great Manchester Wetlands to the Community’ project has already spent more than a year consulting with local people about the proposed work to revitalise the landscape, which was left decimated by its long history of coal mining and peat extraction. Now this five-year scheme will work to reconnect local communities with their unique natural heritage and preserve it for future generations.
The major regeneration programme covers former Lancashire coalfields and mosslands and riverside environments around Wigan, Salford and Warrington. The project area covers brownfield sites, former coalfields and land where peat has been extracted for decades. It also includes Sites of Special Scientific Interest, including Abram Flashes, Risley Moss and Woolston Eyes, as well sites throughout the Wigan Wetlands, Manchester mosslands and Mersey Wetlands Corridor.
The three main aims of the project are: to restore these key areas, reconnect people to the landscapes and raise awareness within the community of these amazing wild oases on their doorstep.
Daveen Wallis, Head of People and Wildlife at the Lancashire Wildlife Trust, said: “This project has seen local organisations come together to protect and enhance these areas. It’s fantastic to see such teamwork. With the support of HLF, we believe we can now take the project to the next level and really make a lasting impact over the next five years.”
Nathan Lee, Head of HLF North West, said: “The Carbon Landscape is a pioneering project in landscape restoration and we’re delighted that, thanks to National Lottery players, we can support Lancashire Wildlife Trust to preserve these important wetlands. There are over a quarter of a million people living next to this diverse landscape, so we were impressed by the project’s strong vision to reconnect local people with their rich natural heritage, creating new opportunities and a sense of pride in the local area.”
Further activities from the project will include:
- Major landscape restoration programme
- Creation of a Landscape Traineeship Scheme
- Improved and increased volunteering opportunities through a training and rewards and recognition programme
- Research and wildlife surveys to strengthen our ecological networks and climate change resilience
- Improved access through the landscape with the development of the Carbon Trail
- Increased appreciation of the importance of our landscape and the role carbon plays in its creation, exploitation and restoration.
About the Carbon Landscape Project
The Carbon Landscape project is led by the Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside, as part of the Great Manchester Wetlands Partnership.
Project leads: The University of Manchester's School of Environment, Education and Development, Wigan Council, Warrington Council, Salford Council, City of Trees, Greater Manchester Ecology Unit, Healthy Rivers Trust, Woolston Eyes Conservation Group, Inspiring Healthy Lifestyles.
Other stakeholders: Environment Agency, Natural England.