A large-scale nature conservation project delivered by the Moors for the Future Partnership has been recognised as one of the most effective and inspiring in the EU.
Since 2003 the partnership has been helping to breathe new life into moorlands damaged by the legacy of 200 years of industrial pollution and wildfires that caused vast areas of bare and eroding peat.
These areas across the Peak District and South Pennines are internationally important active blanket bog known as the South Pennines Special Area for Conservation.
The Partnership’s MoorLIFE project is due to receive an award for being one of the best LIFE Nature Projects of 2015 in recognition of the successful completion of the five-year project.
With €6.7 million project funding, including €5 million from the EU LIFE+ programme, almost 2,500 hectares of moorland has been protected from damage.
By developing innovative conservation techniques nearly 900 hectares of badly damaged blanket bog has been revegetated to stabilise the exposed and damaged bare peat, preventing further erosion.
The winning projects represent the three strands of the LIFE+ programme - Nature; Environment; and Information & Communication – and are drawn from 15 EU Member States in total.
Winners of the ‘Best of the Best’ project awards will be chosen by a jury of the Member States and European Commission and will be revealed at the LIFE Nature and LIFE Environment award ceremonies in Brussels on May 31.
Sarah Fowler, Chief Executive of the Peak District National Park, said: “This award is a huge honour. We are delighted that MoorLIFE has been recognised as one of the best conservation projects in Europe.
“This project has delivered landscape-scale works in the Peak District National Park and South Pennines as well as leading the way in research and the development of innovative techniques to help us protect and understand these fantastic places.”
Chris Dean, Moors for the Future Partnership Manager, said: “In addition to the success of this award the partnership’s new MoorLIFE 2020 project that has been granted €12 million from the EU Life programme.
“This funding is the largest ever award to a UK based nature conservation project showing the importance the whole of Europe places on this landscape at the heart of the nation.
“With matched-funding from Severn Trent Water, Yorkshire Water and United Utilities, this €16 million project will protect the integrity of 9,500 hectares of active blanket bog through re-vegetating bare peat, improving hydrology and diversifying existing vegetation.”
"Over the next five years we will be working to protect these iconic moorland habitats so that they continue to benefit us all in the years to come.”