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Peak birdlife takes wing - with £500,000 help to landowners

This is an archived press release

Monday 2 August 2004

2 August 2004

Peak birdlife takes wing - with £500,000 help to landowners

Populations of three endangered Peak District bird species are being boosted by grants to farmers and landowners worth £500,000 over the next 10 years.

The grants, secured through the Peak Birds Project, aim to halt the dramatic decline of curlew, lapwing and twite by helping farmers create favourable habitats on their land.

Since the RSPB and Peak District National Park Authority set the project up in 2001, more than 250 farmers and landowners have been contacted by project officer Chris Tomson, and around 85 have agreed to take part.

Chris helps farmers identify what they could do to benefit the birds and then helps them apply for grants for agri-environment funding. The funding comes mainly from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

Projects include rush-management, which helps improve the quality of grazing as well as benefiting lapwings, creating shallow pools for lapwing chicks to feed in, growing certain arable crops and managing hay-meadows to offer safer nest-sites.

Chris Tomson said he was delighted at the project's progress so far: "It's encouraging to see so many farmers and landowners taking up the conservation challenge, but it's not really surprising," he said.

"The farming community is aware of the drastic drop in numbers of these upland birds - now farmers and landowners are working to bring them back, and thanks to government help, we are able to support them. And in addition to the grants farmers often use their own money to support these schemes."

Anyone seeking advice or project funding can contact Chris Tomson on 01629 816247 or e-mail chris.tomson@peakdistrict.gov.uk

This is an archived press release

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