This is an archived press release
Tuesday 7 August 2007
7 August 2007
Environment chief on fact-finding tour of Peak District
Barbara Young, chief executive of the Environment Agency, met conservationists, farmers and eco-conscious villagers on a fact-finding tour of the Peak District National Park (Aug 7).
National Park chief executive Jim Dixon hosted the tour, taking Barbara Young first to the Snake Pass, where she saw how moorland restoration can help reduce flood risk.
The Environment Agency is contributing to gulley-blocking on eroded moorland to help it absorb excess rainfall and carbon. The work is being carried out by the Moors for the Future partnership as part of a £4.7m environmental and wildlife project.
Barbara Young then saw the new Moorland Centre at Edale – a turf-roofed, energy self-sufficient building which is a combined visitor and research centre. There she had a working lunch with National Park and Natural England conservationists.
Sensitive farming for wildlife was next, when farmer Alan Grindey showed the environment chief round his Mill Lane Farm near Hartington. Financial support from the National Park Authority and Defra is being channelled to help such work.
Peak Birds Project officer Dr Catherine Gray explained how farmers are helping reverse steep declines in upland birds, the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust showed their Water for Wildlife project and she saw some of the Environment Agency’s fisheries work.
On to Youlgrave, where villagers outlined their Sustainable Youlgrave project to develop community energy schemes, including a methane digester using farm slurry, as well as hydro, solar and wind-power.
Finally she was able to meet Warren Slaney, river-keeper for the Haddon Estate, and Andrew Thompson, Haddon’s land agent, to view conservation projects on their five-mile sustainable wild trout fishery.
Barbara said, “It’s been heartening for me to see the all the varied environmental work going on in the National Park through partnership and co-operation. The contacts I have made and information gathered will be very useful for the future.”