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Dark Peak Nature Improvement Area celebrates 1st anniversary

Last modified: 26 March 2013

Curlew sitting in grassy field

The Dark Peak NIA covers 25,000 hectares of the Peak District National Park, including a dramatic landscape of upland habitats.

Image: David J Morris

Representatives from a major conservation project in the Peak District are attending a special event in London today to celebrate the first anniversary of England’s Nature Improvement Area (NIA) programme.

The Dark Peak Nature Improvement Area – which covers the northern part of the Peak District - is one of 12 partnership projects, which were created a year ago following an extremely competitive bidding process for a share of £7.5million new funding from Defra and Natural England.

The aim of the NIA projects is to improve the landscape for people and nature through restoring, expanding and joining up wildlife-rich areas.

At today’s event, Ross Frazer, Project Manager for the Dark Peak NIA will be presenting the main achievements of the project to an audience which includes Environment Minister Richard Benyon, Professor Sir John Lawton and Natural England chair Poul Christensen.

Commenting on the first year of the Dark Peak Nature Improvement Area, Ross Frazer said: “The past 12 months have seen a flurry of activity across the Dark Peak. All of the partners have been working hard together to make the area an even better place for nature where local people and visitors can relax and enjoy the great outdoors.”     

Since the Dark Peak Nature Improvement Area was created in April 2012, the project has:

· Helped to stimulate more than £2million additional funding for conservation and land access projects.

· Delivered habitat restoration and creation of blanket bog, heathland, woodland and grassland habitats, all of which are important for wildlife.

· Inspired local volunteers to commit 200 days of their time to undertake practical conservation and community engagement work.

· Carried out extensive restoration work on the badly eroded Moss Road on Eastern Moors to improve public access to green spaces.

· Undertaken research with Sheffield University to understand the true value of the moors of the city of Sheffield to local people.

· Welcomed the National Trust at Marsden Moor as a new partner to the Nature Improvement Area.

Ross continued: “Over the coming year, the partnership has an equally packed work programme planned. We will be undertaking more extensive blanket bog restoration, which is vital for carbon storage and we’ll be continuing to create a new public access routes at Blacka Moor, Eastern Moors and Dove Stone. There are also plans for a major bracken control programme to improve heathland, while in September, work will start on a major project to replace the conifer plantation at Burbage with native woodland.”

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