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Moors Project more vital than ever

This is an archived press release

Sunday 14 November 2004

14 November 2004

Moors Project more vital than ever

Issued by the Moors for the Future Partnership

The Moors for the Future partnership has welcomed major new research on the Peak District moors to underpin its vital conservation work.

The £4.7m, five-year project facilitates research undertaken by leading universities relating to moorland condition as well as visitor attitudes towards moorlands in the Peak District National Park. This research helps Moors For The Future to effectively target the large scale revegetation of degraded moorland areas.

Researchers from the University of Manchester, James Rothwell and Dr Martin Evans have shown that Bleaklow, in the southern Pennines near Glossop, is among the world's most polluted moorlands, mainly due to historical contamination from heavy industry in the nearby cities of Manchester and Sheffield in the 19th century. Wind, mist and rain transported industrially derived pollutants such as heavy metals, which are now highly concentrated in the upper peat layer.

Pioneering research on Peak District moorland streams by MSc students Simon Barber, James Hall and Sarah Allen with supervisor Dr Tim Allott show some atmospheric pollution of streams with associated impoverished stream life. Parts of Bleaklow are heavily eroded and could therefore be releasing heavy metals with eroded peat particles into the streams of the region. Recorded nitrogen levels in some of the streams are up to three times greater than those found in selected Scottish and Welsh water courses. However, other streams surveyed were not as polluted as expected. It is hoped that the situation has now peaked following the demise of heavy industry in the surrounding areas.

The results were revealed as part of a two-day conference on moorlands organised by the Moors For The Future Project. The conference at Losehill Hall was attended by researchers from over 20 academic institutions, policy makers from government organisations as well as local moorland owners, land managers and practitioners. This followed a research grants presentation day held the previous week in Edale village hall.

The Moors for the Future partnership is undertaking large scale restoration work by reversing erosion and regenerating vegetation which will enable long term improvement in the peat and water courses of the area, which is home to rare plants and wildlife. Blanket bog like that on Bleaklow is one of the world's rarest habitats.

The project provides small research grants to support moorland research work. For details on the research, grants, conference reports, restoration work and more, see the project's new web site www.moorsforthefuture.org.uk

This is an archived press release

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