More than £1.5 million will be invested to restore Purbeck’s wildlife habitat after the success of the “Wild Purbeck” bid.
Money has been awarded to “Wild Purbeck” because of the rich wildlife of the area. The 12 Nature Improvement Areas (NIAs) to be announced in England have together been granted £7.5 million in funding.
The local bid is run by a partnership of nine key Dorset environmental organisations including Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and the Dorset Wildlife Trust, and is also supported by Dorset County Council.
Over £626,000 of the £1.5 million will come from the government’s Nature Improvement Areas (NIAs) Programme, which will help to enhance wildlife sites. Local partners will provide £900,000.
There are around 30 schemes within the Wild Purbeck NIA business plan, which range from helping communities to engage in the local environment to categorising over 1,200 hectares of ungrazed heathland and creating more woodland.
Tom Munro, Dorset AONB Manager, believes this project is important to the area. He said: “The Purbeck area is incredibly important because of its wildlife. It is facing significant pressures, such as the rising sea level around Poole harbour, increasing number of visitors and more fire risks in the heathland. It needs a concerted partnership to solve these. This three-year project is getting the ball rolling.”
Andrew Pollard, Living Landscapes Manager at Dorset Wildlife Trust, said: “Having a Nature Improvement Area for Purbeck is fantastic news for both the wildlife and the people who live, work and visit there. By working with our partners and local people, we can help to protect Purbeck’s magnificent biodiversity and bring back living landscapes for all in this beautiful corner of Dorset.”
Alison Turnock, Natural Heritage and Tourism Manager of Purbeck District Council said: “This area will definitely benefit from the project and we will work together to promote the development of Purbeck.”