Trust secures grant for Environment Land Management scheme

The county’s largest nature conservation charity has secured £72,000 of funding to carry out an innovative project to protect and enhance the environment by engaging with local landowners.

Staffordshire Wildlife Trust has obtained the funding which will contribute to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’ (DEFRA) future Environmental Land Management (ELM) scheme.

The Trust will undertake detailed opportunity mapping in two areas within Staffordshire, Whiston Brook catchment and the South West Peak, reflecting two very different landscape priorities. The project will see The Trust investigating the local priorities of each of the areas with regards to public goods so this will potentially be looking at flooding, water quality, landscape, priority species and habitats for example.

The Whiston Brook catchment is located in lowland Staffordshire and consists of soft fruit production, intensive dairy, beef, sheep, arable and pig farming and the South West Peak is located in the uplands of Staffordshire focusing on grazed grassland.

 Anna Nixon, Ecological Projects Officer for Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, said: “The map will be created collaboratively with partners and stakeholders to identify key specific priorities for the areas, with land managers producing targeted solutions, in order to inform a landscape management plan. It is possible that this landscape plan may be incorporated into a more wide-reaching strategic Nature Recovery Network (NRN) map in the future.

 “This is both a test and a trial using established Countryside Stewardship Facilitation Fund groups, to implement a new method of priority identification and land manager engagement.”

 The project will be delivered over two phases; the first phase will be delivered over 12 months and the second phase will be a duplicate of Phase 1, however it will be delivered over six months with a new group of land managers. Phase 2 will allow the mapping and consultation exercise to be tested on additional land manager groups within two further priority areas in Staffordshire (the Upper Sow and Scotch Brook catchments).