Annual Conference 2014 Report

The South Pennines: the green roots of our prosperity

Over 100 delegates gathered at The Shay in Halifax for the annual Pennine Prospects conference on Friday 17th October. Delegates were welcomed by Cllr Stephen Baines, Leader of Calderdale MBC, who described the innovative work being under taken by the Upper Calder Valley Flood Pathfinder – a partnership which includes Calderdale MBC, Pennine Prospects and the Environment Agency with support from DEFRA.

Pam Warhurst, Chair of Pennine Prospects, called on delegates to make the current jobs, growth and enterprise agenda work for the South Pennines, especially in providing opportunities for young people. She encouraged delegates to invest in the next generation of entrepreneurs. Pam also outlined the strengths of the South Pennines which include a high-quality accessible landscape and the presence of well-established partnerships.

To hear a snapshot of how the delegates viewed the day and the value they derived from it listen here

Peter Ross, Chair of the Dumfries & Galloway LEADER Local Action Group introduced the experiences of communities in a remote and sparsely populated area; Dumfries & Galloway is home to almost 40% of Scotland’s livestock but has a population of only 150,800. LEADER funding has been available in the area for over 20 years. The new programme, which is under development, aims to support the local economy, encourage young people to live and work in the region, protect and improve land, coast and marine environments and promote sustainable communities.

Peter’s presentation can be downloaded here

Gary Smith, Director of Conservation & Community at the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority outlined how the national park works to maximise the economic return from tourism through a number of initiatives including:
• Ensuring visitor facilities are of the highest quality.
• Supporting and promoting niche and growing markets such as cycling.
• Promoting the rich local distinctiveness of the Dales.
• Presenting a coherent Dales brand which is now available for businesses to use in their marketing materials.

Gary emphasised the importance, to the economy, of visitors who stay overnight and the potential positive impact of the Tour de France 2014.

Gary’s presentation can be downloaded here

Clifton Bain, Director of the International Union of Conservation of Nature (IUCN) UK Peatland Programme explained the vital importance of the UK’s 2.7 million hectares of peatland, 80% of which has been damaged, and explored how peatland restoration projects will be funded in the future. Peatbogs are a significant habitat within the South Pennines, covering around a quarter of the area. Clifton described the proposed Peatland Code as a mechanism for initiating a carbon market and attracting new resources to restoration projects.

Clifton’s presentation can be downloaded here

Sixteen-year old Nathan Greenwood from the Worth Valley Young Farmers shared his experiences of the Fields of Vision project, working with artists and farmers to create a series of field-scale land art installations along the route of Grand Depart 2014. Nathan’s speech had previously come second at the national Young Farmers Clubs public speaking competition.

Nathan’s presentation can be downloaded here

During the afternoon delegates had the opportunity to participate in one of three workshops:

Working Woodlands
Participants heard from Edward Mills, former Director of Cumbria Woodlands, and identified three keys actions to help develop the South Pennines woodland economy:
• Unlocking the potential of local authority woodlands.
• Facilitating management of woodlands by local communities.
• A potential advocacy role for Pennine Prospects in linking public, private and community organisations.

Edwards’s presentation can be downloaded here

Living Waterways

Graham Birch of the Huddersfield Canal Society presented a summary of the economic value of waterway restoration and Nigel Stevens of Shire Cruisers gave a brief history of his business. The key themes for further work were:
• Impact of the shortage of water on boat movements along the Rochdale & Huddersfield Narrow Canals.
• Facilitating action on canals by local communities.
• Maximising “animation” of the water space through increased boat numbers.

Graham & Nigel’s presentations can be downloaded here and here

There’s money in them there mills

Delegates explored the opportunities for businesses provided by the unique industrial heritage of the South Pennines. A discussion, led by Anna Wiseman, Project Director Cultural Destinations Calderdale, Matthew Stroh, Chair of the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway and Alan Schofield of the Saddleworth Historical Society, identified three areas to develop:
• Linking smaller events and attractions to form “packages” for the visitor.
• Innovative and creative thinking, including making the most of new technology.
• Increased communications and networking between businesses in the heritage tourism sector.