Yorkshire Water has invested in, and partnered with, seven projects across the region that aim to develop, improve and protect the natural environment.
As the second largest landowner in the county, the company is in a unique position to help encourage wildlife and plants across the region to thrive. Through its biodiversity enhancement programme it works in partnership with others to help facilitate conservation projects that benefit the landscapes in which it operates. This is particularly important in the current Covid-19 crisis, as the projects will help communities to re-engage with nature as restrictions are lifted.
In May 2020 Yorkshire Water announced its investment of £250,000, in projects run by the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, Wild Trout Trust, Lower Ure Conservation Trust, Calderdale Council, the RSPB and Friends of the Lower Derwent Valley.
The funding awarded to the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA) will be used to support the work of the Tees-Swale: Naturally Connected project in Swaledale and Arkengarthdale.
The project, which also covers Upper Teesdale and is led by the North Pennines AONB Partnership, is working with farmers to restore nationally important habitats like haymeadows and create new woodland. Investment will be targeted on sites that maximise carbon sequestration, increase habitat connectivity, improve water quality and help to reduce downstream flood peaks.
Gary Smith, director of conservation and community from YDNPA, said: “We’re immensely grateful for Yorkshire Water’s support for this exciting project. The funding will enable us to increase significantly the area of habitat that will be restored and created – something that will not only be good for nature but great for people too.”
Another project of note is Brearley Fields Wetland Nature Reserve, part of the Calder Greening project being led by Calderdale Council. A new wetland nature reserve will be created on former playing fields lying on flood plain between the River Calder and the Rochdale Canal in Mytholmroyd.
The funding will assist in providing new and improved wildlife habitats along with opportunities for local people to help create and sustainably manage the reserve.
Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Climate Change and Environment, Coun Scott Patient, said: “We’re delighted that the Brearley Field Wetland Nature Reserve project has been awarded this funding, which will help support wetland developments.
“The project looks to enhance the natural environment and bring health and wellbeing benefits. It will also complement flood resilience work in Mytholmroyd, highlighting the benefits of the adjacent waterways by creating an attractive yet functional landscape.
“We’ve worked closely with the local community to help shape plans for the site and this money will also allow local people to have further input into its continued management.”
Ben Aston, Yorkshire Water’s lead for biodiversity and ecology, said: “A key part of our corporate strategy is to protect the environment. Through working with others rather than going it alone, we ensure that there is a long-term sustainable legacy to the programme and that there is the right expertise on board to deliver the best possible results for nature and our customers.
“It is fantastic to be able to support a range of amazing initiatives that are driven by making Yorkshire a more habitable area for wildlife and plants, as well as improving people’s well-being and sustaining the ecosystems on which we rely for many of our services.
“As well as our biodiversity enhancement programme, we are working with catchment partnerships across our area to help improve the sustainability of the conservation groups who help look after our rivers, and look forward to continuing this work to help deliver a green recovery for Yorkshire from Covid-19.”