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Peat and Heather get it together

This is an archived press release

Tuesday 7 December 2004

7 December 2004

Peat and Heather get it together

Issued by the Moors for the Future Partnership

Farmers and landowners are helping move hundreds of tonnes of heather from flourishing Peak District moors to bring new life to degraded peat moors in other parts of the National Park.

Restoration is taking place on a massive scale as part of the £4.7m Moors for the Future Project. Over the next few weeks 730 tonnes of cut heather and 40 tonnes of geotextile (a degradable matting used to stabilise bare slopes) will be airlifted on to moorland restoration sites on Bleaklow, Kinder and Arnfield.

The cut heather, which contains seeds, is mainly spread by hand, although the team is trying out a helicopter-mounted spreader on Arnfield moor, near Hadfield, which has been developed for this type of work.

In the project's biggest operation yet, all the heather has been cut locally with the aid of local landowners and farmers, who have also helped in moving the materials to the airlift sites.

Mark Osborne, agent for several of the moors supplying heather to the project, said: "It is excellent that such good work is being done in the Peak District by Moors for the Future and others, to restore heather moorland. This habitat is so important to the Peak District. I see this project as a very good example of how the public, charity and private sectors can work together to benefit the landscape for the benefit of those who work in and visit the area."

United Utilities' Peter Sharples, Estate Manager for large areas of Bleaklow and Arnfield, said: "We manage the land as part of our role in protecting the reservoirs - key sources of drinking water in the region. In this scheme the heather will not only help restore the moorland and help wildlife, but will also help improve water quality by acting as a natural filter for rainwater."

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

For further details of the 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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