A multi-million pound project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund has been launched to restore areas in the North West transformed by heavy industries like coal-mining, peat extraction and iron and steel production.
Led by the Lancashire Wildlife Trust, The Carbon Landscape aims to restore more than 130 hectares to nature, train more than 1000 volunteers and offer free education to 40 schools, and is spearheading the latest Government thinking on the environment. While work has already been happening to create green areas, the project aims to connect these areas – and to get local people involved in the restoration work.
It will include the Carbon Trail – a route linking wild space between urban areas; Carbon Volunteers – getting people involved in improving the landscape, and the Mossland Gateway – which will improve pedestrian and cyclist assess to Chat Moss in Salford.
Other plans include activities for all ages, an educational programme for schools, interpretation of the landscape and wildlife monitoring. There will be physical improvements on sites including Wigan Flashes, Hey Brook in Wigan, Risley Moss, Rixton Clay Pits, Woolston Eyes and Paddington Meadows in Warrington.
The project features the RoundView – an accessible and positive approach to sustainability – which has come from research by Dr Joanne Tippett, Lecturer in Planning and Environmental Management at The University of Manchester. She found that offering guidelines for what a sustainable future might look like, rather than focusing on problems, leads to greater motivation and capacity for action. Working with the Great Manchester Wetlands Partnership, she has used RoundView to interpret the landscape in an innovative way.
“The Carbon Landscape, with its rich industrial heritage, is the perfect place to take a step back, look at a bigger picture and ask ourselves – what kind of future are we choosing to create?” said Joanne. “It is fantastic to see the findings from my research being put to work to inspire communities, schoolchildren and organisations to get involved in the project’s wide variety of ecological restoration and cultural activities.”
“The Carbon Landscape encompasses both nationally and internationally important wetlands, so we have a responsibility to save them,” said Lancashire Wildlife Trust Chief Executive Anne Selby. “The sheer scale of this project is bigger, better and more joined up conservation, creating a resilient, inspirational landscape.”
“This project is changing the way in which we approach landscapes and communities in Wigan, Salford and Warrington,” said Carbon Landscape Programme Manager Anna Hetterley. “22 interlinked projects will provide a radical and effective programme that will have lasting benefits for local communities and wildlife.
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 for the benefit of local communities.
A short film about the project is available here: