Minister visits the South Pennines to discover for himself the work of the Local Nature Partnership

Posted: 11.08.14

Lord de Mauley, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Natural Environment and Science, at DEFRA, met farmers and major landowners during his visit to the South Pennines on Wednesday. This year the Minister is visiting a number of Local Nature Partnerships (LNPs) which were set up in 2012 as a key commitment in the Government’s Natural Environment White Paper.

As part of his visit the Minister saw the on-going work between the South Pennines Local Nature Partnership, Pennine Prospects and those who own and work the land. His guide throughout was Pam Warhurst, chair of the LNP. The packed itinerary included the official launch of ‘Our Living Landscape: A vision for the future of the South Pennines’.

Environment Minister Lord de Mauley said: “It was a great pleasure to meet The South Pennines LNP. I was impressed to see that they had forged successful relationships with a range of parties, bringing multiple benefits for wildlife, flood defences, water quality and local communities.”

Rachel Hallos, a local farmer from Beeston Hall Farm, and Emma Fawcett, of Natural England, showed the Minister how they are working together to deliver high nature value farming through initiatives such as the South Pennines Twite Recovery Project. The Worth Valley Young Farmers introduced him to the Local Food Matters project and Fields of Vision, a large-scale land art project which animated the route of the recent Grand Depart of the Tour de France as part of the Yorkshire Festival 2014.

He also heard about Yorkshire Water’s water catchment management approach, which delivers environmental and water quality benefits through its partnership work with farmers and tenants.

Over a lunch of locally-produced food at the Old Bridge Inn, Ripponden, Lord De Mauley discussed how organisations are working together for the environment of the South Pennines with Richard Flint, Chief Executive of Yorkshire Water; Duncan Smith, United Utilities’ Water Services Director and Councillor Geraldine Carter, of Calderdale MBC, who is also a member of the LNP steering group.

In afternoon the Minister visited Blackstone Edge near Littleborough and heard about United Utilities’ upland management programme, which is delivered in partnership with Moors for the Future.

Finally, Francis Comyn, of Rochdale MBC, outlined the Reservoir Trails project which provides a series of watershed walks through the South Pennines. And Katherine Causer, of the Environment Agency and a member of the LNP steering group, described how local partnerships plan to work together to improve water quality and reduce flood risk.

“The South Pennines means so much to so many people: it is an internationally important wildlife haven, a working landscape for farmers, a playground for visitors from surrounding towns and cities and a source of clean drinking water. It also has a major role to play in our fight against climate change,” explained Pam Warhurst, Chair of the South Pennine Local Nature Partnership. “We need to value this stunning rural landscape for what it provides for our economy and environment and we need to prepare for the future.”

The LNP focuses on six key areas; the moors, the working landscape, inspiring people, wildlife, woods and trees, and water. It brings together the National Trust, Woodland Trust, RSPB, Target Wellbeing, AB Consultancy, Natural England, the Environment Agency and local authorities across the region. It is supported by Pennine Prospects, the rural regeneration company for the South Pennines.

Yorkshire Water United Utilities Rochdale Metropolitan Borough Council Oldham Metropolitan Borough Council National Farmers Union
South Pennines Association Lancashire County Council Pennine Heritage Kirklees Council Calderdale Council
Bradford District Council Northern Rail Natural England Environment Agency The National Trust