Spearheading national thinking on nature

29 September 2017

A multi-million pound North West project is spearheading the latest Government thinking on the environment.

Senior advisor at Natural England Amanda Wright said The Carbon Landscape is “restoring, reconnecting people and wildlife and instilling pride in the community.”

Amanda was speaking at the launch of the Carbon Landscape at Lancashire Mining Museum, where 70 guests, partners including City of Trees and staff were celebrating a project which will continue the transformation of huge areas of Salford, Warrington and Wigan.

The Carbon Landscape will restore nature to areas transformed by industries like coal-mining, peat extraction and iron and steel production.

While much of that industry has closed down and work has already been going on for decades to create green areas, the Carbon Landscape aims to connect these areas and get people involved in the restoration work.

The Lancashire Wildlife Trust Chief Executive Anne Selby said: “The sheer scale of this project is bigger, better and more joined up conservation, creating a resilient, inspirational landscape.”

Guests included Salford Mayor Paul Dennett, Wigan Council Chief Executive Donna Hall, Salford’s Lead Member for Planning and Sustainable Development Derek Antrobus and Greater Manchester Combined Authority’s Director of Environment Adam Booth and Natural Capital Co-ordinator Krista Patrick.

Other organisation represented included City of Trees, the Environment Agency, the Canal and Rivers Trust, Wigan Council, Salford Council, Warrington Council, Manchester Museum, the University of Manchester, the Hamilton Davies Trust, The RSPB, Salford Community Leisure and other partners and organisations.

While the project is being led by the Lancashire Wildlife Trust it has 22 partners all playing key roles including City of Trees who are delivering two areas of the project: Carbon Clever and Carbon Creative.

Carbon Clever will engage with school children to inspire them to learn how the landscape was formed, how it shaped peoples’ lives and how it is being reimagined as a huge community asset. Carbon Creative will encourage people to get out and explore the Carbon Landscape and come back with stories, ideas, songs and poems that the landscape has inspired. A resident artist will fine tune this creativity and will help form a number of exhibitions telling the story of The Carbon Landscape and what it means to people today.

The project aims to restore more than 130 hectares of habitat, train more than 1,000 volunteers, enthuse 4,500 members of the public and offer free education to 40 schools.

Image: Cottongrass on Cadishead and Little Woolden.

The Carbon Landscape Restoration Officer Anna Hetterley said: “The Carbon Landscape is changing the way in which we approach landscapes and communities in Wigan, Salford and Warrington. Twenty-two interlinked projects will provide a forward-thinking and effective programme that will have lasting benefits for local communities and wildlife.

“Whilst this area undoubtedly has a rich heritage, both natural and man-made, the opportunities that this landscape can provide within a heavily urbanised area are largely missed. The Carbon Landscape will enhance and connect up the restoration of this landscape, altered by industry, creating and improving nationally significant habitats and reconnecting local people with the heritage and wealth of opportunities for enjoyment and learning on their doorstep.”

Caron Landscape Officer Lydia Dayes said: “We want to get people excited about the area, we want to inspire the community with legacy walks, engagement events, workshops, training days and more.”

Other projects include the Carbon Trail, a route linking wild space in between urban areas; Carbon Volunteers, getting people involved in improving the landscape and the Mossland Gateway to improve pedestrian and cyclist assess to Chat Moss.

There will be improvements on sites like Wigan Flashes, Hey Brook in Wigan, Risley Moss, Rixton Clay Pits, Woolsten Eyes and Paddington Meadows in Warrington.

The Carbon Landscape is part of the Great Manchester Wetlands, a partnership of local authorities, statutory organisations, environmental charities and community groups. It was established in 2011 to deliver improvements to nature and wildlife of some 40,000 ha for the benefit of local communities.