Morecambe Bay – one of England’s first Nature Improvement Areas

Arnside & Silverdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Partnership has worked with and on behalf of a broad partnership to secure £600,000 from the national Nature Improvement Area Programme. The investment will create a step change for nature aroundMorecambeBayby improving and reconnecting the area’s special wetland, limestone, grassland and woodland habitats, as well as inspiring community action and supporting sustainable farming, wood fuel and wildlife tourism businesses.

The RSPB, Butterfly Conservation, Cumbria Wildlife Trust, Morecambe Bay Partnership, Forestry Commission, Lancaster City Council, National Trust, Lancashire Wildlife Trust, Environment Agency, Natural England, National Farmers’ Union, Bay Tourism Association and Wyre Council have played a major role in developing and supporting the project and will act as key delivery partners.

The Nature Improvement Area will see enhancement and restoration of over 1000ha of priority habitat; the creation of ‘corridors’ and ‘stepping stones’ to develop a more robust ecological network; the launch of a nature tourism business network; development of the area’s woodfuel economy; a comprehensive evidence base to enable sustainable development alongside improvements to the natural environment; and a series of inspiring opportunities for people to experience and get involved with their natural world through events and volunteering.

Secretary of State for the Environment, Caroline Spelman, said:

“I’d like to congratulateMorecambeBayon becoming one of the first 12 Nature Improvement Areas. These exciting wildlife projects are the result of different organisations all working together with a common purpose – to safeguard our wildlife for generations to come.”

Lucy Barron, Arnside & Silverdale AONB Manager, said, “This is important – these habitats are part of our landscape and our shared ‘sense of place’. This will give a much-needed boost to the area’s wildlife whilst bringing benefits for our local economy, farmers and communities. Partnership working continues to go from strength to strength around the Bay as this latest exciting success shows. Support from farmers and landowners, the wider community and many others demonstrates there is an appetite for collaboration and action on a large scale. ”

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