Restoration project for the North Somerset Levels and Moors

Wednesday 24th June 2015

North Somerset Levels and MoorsNorth Somerset Levels and Moors

Work to restore the grazing marsh of the North Somerset Levels and Moors will now benefit the environment even further after Wessex Water backed the initiative through its biodiversity funding programme.

Over the next five years the water company’s Partners Programme will support Avon Wildlife Trust deliver an integrated approach to the management and restoration of the grazing marsh and associated habitats across the North Somerset Levels and Moors.

Dr Lucy Rogers, Director of Conservation Programmes at Avon Wildlife Trust, said: “Recent survey work has revealed a significant decline in the quality of the ditch network, which helps to drain approximately 8,000 hectares of North Somerset farmland.

“Many ditches are completely overgrown with trees and shrubs and may no longer hold water and this consequently has a negative effect on the wildlife they can support.”

Avon Wildlife Trust will use the funding to help establish a local delivery partnership as well as habitat management and community engagement programmes to achieve benefits for farming, biodiversity, water quality and flood alleviation.

Lucy added: “This integrated approach to bring rhyne and ditch networks back into management will provide a rich resource for aquatic plants and invertebrates as well as a habitat for otters and water voles and linear routes for bats.”

The Partners Programme, which provides financial support to develop projects that benefit the environment within the Wessex Water region, has helped more than 30 conservation projects.

Dave Jones, a regulatory scientist at Wessex Water, said: “We’re delighted to be working alongside Avon Wildlife Trust on this new partnership.

“The project aims to make improvements in water quality, wildlife and flooding, which complements our own work, including investigating how our assets affect the Tickenham, Nailsea and Kenn Moors site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), part of the North Somerset Levels.

“By working together we hope to achieve a much wider lasting benefit for the North Somerset Levels and Moors."