New life for ancient Bournemouth landscape

29th October 2013

This week marks the start of a new partnership between Bournemouth Airport and Dorset County Council for the care of an important landscape site close to the airport.

Thanks to a successful application for 10 years of funding from Natural England, a Higher Level stewardship (HLS) Agreement is now in place, which will ensure the special character of Merritown Heath and Moors Riverside Meadows will be restored and enhanced for the benefit of wildlife.

Danny Alder, Senior Ecologist with Dorset County Council’s Natural Environment team, said: “Dorset County Council looks forward to continuing working alongside Bournemouth Airport and Natural England in managing this important landscape which lies within the airport boundary. The HLS will enable threatened species such as the Nightjar, Dartford warbler and Sand Lizard to continue to thrive and help develop educational visits for local schools to explore the ecology of the habitats found here.

“This is a new phase in the conservation work being undertaken here as grazing stock will be introduced within the next two years to help maintain the diversity of heathland and riverside wildlife. The scheme will act as an important catalyst for sustainable land management on other areas of the county council's farm and countryside estate.”

The Environmental Stewardship scheme is administered by Natural England, on behalf of DEFRA, and funds farmers and land managers throughout England to deliver effective environmental management on their land. Higher Level stewardship (HLS) aims to deliver significant environmental benefits in priority areas over a longer period of time and HLS agreements are set up over ten years.

Sue Moore, Lead Advisor from the Dorset Team at Natural England, added: “It’s great that such a substantial part of the remaining heathland in Dorset is now in active management again. It's been a pleasure to see the partnership between our organisations establish a positive outcome for nature conservation in the county.”

The land is owned by Bournemouth Airport and is also known as the Hurn Common Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), protected under European legislation as part of the Dorset Heaths Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and Dorset Heathland’s Special Protection Area (SPA). Moors Riverside Meadows is protected as part of the Moors River System SSSI.

Paul Knight, Bournemouth Airport’s Managing Director, said: “We are delighted to be working with Dorset County Council and Natural England to improve our local environment. We place great importance on managing, protecting and enhancing the quality of land around our airports and this is no exception. Dorset County Council will manage the land on our behalf, installing new fencing to enable the re-introduction of grazing and allowing the natural habitats and wildlife to thrive.”

ENDS

For more information, contact the Bournemouth Airport press office on 08442 434100 or email pressoffice@bournemouthairport.com.

Notes:

BACKGROUND TO HIGHER LEVEL STEWARDSHIP

The Environmental Stewardship scheme is administered by Natural England, on behalf of DEFRA, and funds farmers and other land managers throughout England to deliver effective environmental management on their land. Higher Level stewardship (HLS) aims to deliver significant environmental benefits in priority areas over a longer period of time and HLS agreements are set up over ten years.

About Environmental Stewardship

The Environmental Stewardship scheme is administered by Natural England, on behalf of Defra, and funds farmers and land managers throughout England to deliver effective environmental management on their land.

The objectives of Environmental Stewardship are to:
• Promote public access and understanding of the countryside
• Protect the historic environment and natural resources
• Maintain and enhance landscape quality and character
• Conserve biodiversity

About Natural England

Natural England is the government’s advisor on the natural environment. Established in 2006 our work is focused on enhancing England’s wildlife and landscapes and maximising the benefits they bring to the public. www.naturalengland.org.uk

• We establish and care for England’s main wildlife and geological sites, ensuring that over 4,000 National Nature Reserves (NNRs) and Sites of Special Scientific Interest are looked after and improved. All of England’s NNRs form part of a UK wide network of nature reserves covering England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

• We work to ensure that England’s landscapes are effectively protected, designating England’s National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and advising on their conservation.

• We run England’s Environmental Stewardship green farming schemes that deliver over 400 million a year to farmers and landowners, enabling them to enhance the natural environment across two thirds of England’s farmland.

• We fund, manage, and provide scientific expertise for hundreds of conservation projects each year, improving the prospects for thousands of England’s species and habitats.

• We promote access to the wider countryside, helping establish National Trails and coastal trails and ensuring that the public can enjoy and benefit from them.

Published on: 29/10/2013 14:20:51


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