As we enter the final year of funding for our Environmental Grants scheme, we are pleased to share updates from the six projects that are benefitting from the scheme. They have all, without exception, continued to make great progress across a diverse range of areas — from reintroducing beavers into the wild to restoring peatlands.
Irish Sea Marine Advocacy Programme • Cumbria Wildlife Trust
Since 2010, the Irish Sea Marine Advocacy Programme has been working to influence the designation and management of Marine Protected Areas in order to restore the Irish Sea to the Wildlife Trusts’ vision for Living Seas. Changing public policy to conserve marine life is required to safeguard the future of our wildlife and can have a considerable influence over some of the most damaging activities that degrades our natural environments (such as intensive fishing). We are working to increase public and political awareness and action in support of marine conservation. Whilst PDHCT funding for this programme concluded this year, this vital advocacy work will continue.
River Otter Beaver Trial • Devon Wildlife Trust
With the third year of the River Otter Beaver Trial now coming to an end, there are up to eight family groups of beavers living within the River Otter catchment. There has been no recorded mortality and the most established family groups are breeding well; estimates suggest that there could be up to 27 animals in the population. Media coverage of the trial is extensive generating a huge amount of positive publicity for beaver reintroduction around the UK. Michael Gove, Secretary of State for DEFRA, visited the project last year announcing that beaver trials would be licenced elsewhere. In Scotland, the Scottish Executive has also launched a consultation on the legal protection of beavers, now recognised as a resident native species.
National Peatland Framework Project • International Union for Conservation of Nature UK Peatland Programme
The National Peatland Framework project continues to support peatland conservation and restoration despite a challenging funding landscape and political upheaval around Brexit. A major highlight of the past year was the launch of the UK Peatland Strategy which outlines the co-ordinated progress needed to deliver 2million ha of healthy peatlands by 2040. Private carbon finance has facilitated the restoration of the first peatland restoration project under the Peatland Code; dual-funded by SNH Peatland Action and the sale of Peatland Code carbon units, the project showcases how new, innovative funding can be successfully utilised alongside the traditional sources of public funding. The 7th IUCN UK PP annual conference ‘BogFest’ was held in collaboration with Moors for the Future Partnership in Edale, Peak District. The festival-come-conference attracted over 300 delegates across three days and attracted 100 members of the public to the fringe programme of events. The Peatland Programme continues to engage with a broad audience on peatland issues: the re-launch of International Bog Day (22 July) will be celebrated with a network of events and partner activity across the UK.
The Great Manchester Wetlands Partnership • Lancashire Wildlife Trust
This is a very large project composed of a variety of linked and over-lapping sub-projects: a Heritage Lottery Funded ‘Carbon Landscape’ project and two landfill tax funded projects called Cutacre and Fenscape. PDHCT funding has been used to lever in monies from a range of different sources to fund what is now a very significant programme. The project is now fully underway with the staff team recruited. The team have been working with large numbers of volunteers undertaking a variety of training, citizen science and community projects. Part of the work of the programme is developing a long distance footpath – the carbon trail.
Somerset’s Nature Matters Programme • Somerset Wildlife Trust
This project has made great progress in the County’s two most threatened environments – the Somerset Levels and Moors and Somerset’s coast, with a focus on building the evidence and the case for nature and influencing the way people think about nature. Funding from PDHCT has supported Somerset Wildlife Trust’s core capacity to advocate for better management of the coast and of the Somerset Moors and Levels. Important survey work (mainly on the coast) is supported by policy interventions that given Somerset Wildlife Trust a voice across the county.
Tomorrow’s Natural Leaders • Yorkshire Wildlife Trust
This project, which aims to develop and empower young people to drive real environmental change, continues to grow. A second tranche of young leaders joined YWT in September 2017; to date 47 youth leaders have been supported through the programme gaining enhanced skills and experience, with 80% of those from year one having progressed into employment. Funding from PDHCT provided the remaining match funding for the programme, which is largely funded from Big Lottery.
Photo credits Header image: Derek Fergusson • Cumbria WT: Cumbria WT; Amy Lewis; Cumbria WT • Devon WT: Clinton Devon Estates; Devon WT; Clinton Devon Estates • IUCN: IUCN; Derek Fergusson; Moors for the Future • Lancashire WT: all Lancashire WT • Somerset WT: all Somerset WT • Yorkshire WT: YWT; Tom Marshall; YWT.