Fatbirder - linking birders worldwide... Wildlife Travellers see our sister site: WAND

Partnership Spreads Its Wings

RSPB Links with Water Compnay

A unique partnership between Europe’s largest wildlife conservation charity and one of the country’s top companies is set to reap dividends for the environment and wildlife.

The agreement between FTSE-50 company United Utilities and the RSPB is the first of its kind for both organisations and builds on many years of collaboration on environmental and conservation programmes in the North West.

Unveiling the partnership at a House of Commons reception today (June 6), United Utilities chief executive Philip Green said: “Environmental protection is at the heart of what we do and making our partnership formal shows that commitment is more than just a business imperative.”Graham Wynne, chief executive of the RSPB added: “Our partnership with United Utilities shows how much can be achieved for both wildlife and people when business and the conservation community work together.”

One of the partnership’s flagship schemes is an environmental management programme for United Utilities’ reservoir gathering grounds in parts of Lancashire and the Peak District.

Funded partly through customers’ water bills, the programme takes a “hilltop-to-tap” perspective for drinking water, managing the land in such a way that the environmental improvements have a knock-on benefit for the raw water draining into reservoirs.Philip Green said: “We could not have embarked on the Sustainable Catchment Management Programme without the help of the RSPB. They have been with us from the start, helping develop the approach and persuade Government and regulators of the programme’s merits.”

The Sustainable Catchment Management Programme (SCaMP) is a ground-breaking initiative which will benefit wildlife, deliver improved water quality and at the same time support rural economies. The five-year pilot project will cover United Utilities’ estates in Bowland and the Peak District, more than 20,000 hectares and open to more than 30 large tenanted farms, as well as other grazing licences and bare land lets.

Graham Wynne added: “Today, we are delighted to be able to celebrate our joint work on SCaMP, which we hope will make a real difference for wildlife and the natural environment across a wide area of Lancashire and the Peak District National Park. Of course, we have been working together for many years and are protecting some of the UK's most threatened and spectacular birds, such as hen harriers and lapwings, in some of England's most attractive and evocative landscapes.We are also introducing thousands of young people to the wonders of the north-west coast at the RSPB's Ribble Discovery Centre.”Work under SCaMP will include:

* Restoring blanket bogs by blocking drainage ditches
* Restoring areas of eroded and exposed peat
* Restoring hay meadows
* Establishing clough woodland
* Restoring heather moorland
* Providing new farm buildings for indoor wintering of livestock and for lambing
* Providing new waste management facilities to reduce run-off pollution of water courses
* Fencing to keep livestock away from areas such as rivers and streams and from special wildlife habitats

Farm plans focus on land management and habitat restoration and will be tailored to meet the needs of livestock grazing and other farming activities in order to ensure a sustainable future for UU’s agricultural tenants. Throughout the programme, exhaustive monitoring and research will measure the effectiveness of the work. This important element will test how wildlife, habitats and water quality benefit from new ways of land management.

4th July 2014