Andy Burnham with Chris CaseyChris Casey joined the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, at Little Woolden Moss in Salford last week to see the work that The Lancashire Wildlife Trust is doing to restore a peat-extracted landscape into a wildlife habitat.

The VIP visit also included the Mayor of Salford, Paul Dennett; Alex Ganotis, Leader of Stockport MBC; Andrew Western, Leader of Trafford MBC; Derek Antrobus, Lead Member for Planning and Sustainable Development; and Steve Gravener and Jan Knight, directors of EcoSpeed.

Casey is providing funding to Lancashire Wildlife Trust for a variety of projects and has recently allocated funding for this project. 

 

Once a huge part of the landscape, mossland has suffered a 97 per cent decline in the North West. What remains is fragmented and is missing key species; lost due to development, peat extraction and fragmentation. These species are unlikely to recolonise naturally. The species reintroduction centring on three isolated sites in the Manchester Mosslands SAC is on a landscape scale. The project will deliver sustainable reintroduction of key globally important species historically found on the mosslands, including plants and butterflies that are reliant on the habitat and are found nowhere else. Along with a programme of rewetting, the plant introductions provide a strong base from which species, like the Large Heath Butterfly, locally called the Manchester Argus, can be reintroduced. First discovered on Chat Moss it deserves its place back in Manchester.

Mossland formerly covered large parts of low-lying Greater Manchester and southern Lancashire. Whilst most of the resource has been lost, several examples survive. Situated within the Great Manchester Wetlands NIA, mosslands form an integral part of its strategic plan, which aims to restore remnant mossland, enhance connectivity, reduce isolation of the mossland resource and reintroduce the unique characteristic bog species that have been lost. The project will deliver multiple benefits to the area. The mossland sites being so close to the centre of both Salford and Manchester play a vital role in providing eco-system services such as recreation, flood alleviation and carbon storage. By concentrating on Large Heath Butterfly, an iconic species that has important and historic links to Manchester, the project can help the local community reconnect and take pride once again in its mossland heritage, which throughout history has played an important role in community life.

The contribution from Casey has enabled Lancashire Wildlife Trust to start on this ambitious and long term project to restore the Manchester Mosslands and to reintroduce iconic species such as the Manchester Argus butterfly back into the county.

Little Woolden Moss