Mayor keen on wetland plan for wildlife

The Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, would like to see green swathes of Salford joining up with the Greenheart of Wigan to create a huge natural network for wildlife and people.

The Mayor was visiting Little Woolden Moss, in Salford, to look at the work that The Lancashire Wildlife Trust is doing to restore a peat-extracted landscape into a wildlife habitat.

Mr Burnham was part of a VIP visit to the moss, including the Mayor of Salford Paul Dennett, Alex Ganotis, Leader of Stockport Council, Andrew Western, Leader of the Trafford Council, Derek Antrobus, Lead Member for Planning and Sustainable Development, Chris Casey, Managing Director of the Casey Companies and Steve Gravener and Jay Knight, directors of EcoSpeed.

Mr Burnham and Mr Dennett both seemed enthused by the project and the wider Great Manchester Wetlands Partnership, which stretches from Wigan to Warrington and into Salford.

Learn more about the Great Manchester Wetlands Partnership

Andy Burnham and Chris Casey squeezing sphagnum moss on Little Woolden Moss

Andy Burnham and Chris Casey with sphagnum moss. Photo: Alan Wright

The Partnership and its Carbon Landscape project are leading restoration plans for post-industrial areas and creating havens for wildlife and a green lung which people can visit.

The visit began at the refurbished Irlam Railway Station café, with talks including The Lancashire Wildlife Trust Chief Executive Officer, Anne Selby, who explained the history of the moss and refurbishment work.

Both mayors asked a number of questions and were enthused by the idea that a cycle route could bring tourists into the wetlands area.

GMWP Co-ordinator, Jo Kennedy, said: “GM Wetlands covers an area of over 400 sq km and well over £5m has been spent since 2012 by GM Wetland Partners on projects in the area. The Carbon Landscape project is delivering £3m more.

Over nine million tonnes of stored carbon in the mosslands of GMW is safeguarded by our activities.

“Around 97 per cent of lowland raised bog has been lost in North West England. By 2025, Great Manchester Wetlands will be a thriving, resilient and inspirational landscape that delivers real benefits to local communities and the local economy.”

Mr Burnham was interested in how companies could get involved in conservation after hearing that EcoSpeed, green couriers of Bolton, have donated tens of thousands of pounds to mossland restoration through carbon offsetting. Casey Companies have just made a large donation to the work.

For more details of events on the Carbon Landscape, go to www.carbonlandscape.org.uk.