Manchester to Warrington nature project gets £2.2m boost

Water vole Image copyright PA
Image caption Water voles, which can be found on Manchester wetlands, are one of the UK's most endangered mammals

A plan to create a "wildlife haven" between Manchester and Warrington has been given a £2.2m boost.

The Carbon Landscape project will link existing wildlife corridors in Cheshire and Greater Manchester in a bid to help birds, mammals and insects move freely.

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has earmarked the money for the project, ahead of receiving a full application.

Greater Manchester Local Nature Partnership said the grant could help "join up the landscape".

The project aims to support work on former coalfields and peat mosses, and include Sites of Special Scientific Interest, Special Areas of Conservation and nature reserves.

It is intended to help "buffer" current sites such as Cadishead Moss, Wigan Flashes and Lightshaw Meadows, part of the Great Manchester Wetlands partnership.

The latter has worked to boost wildlife such as water voles and birds including bitterns, yellow wagtails and willow tits.

Anne Selby, chair of Greater Manchester Local Nature Partnership, said the "enhanced" corridors of wetland habitats would "allow free movement of key species into, out of and between local wildlife sites".

Image copyright Wildlife trust
Image caption The project aims to allow birds, mammals and insects to move more freely

"Corridors already exist along rivers, canals and former railway lines, but these will be enhanced to join up the landscape," she said.

"Our aim is to ensure that the full potential of our landscape heritage is reached, for the benefit of wildlife and the community.

"If we had not received this help, critical improvements would have been missed."

The HLF has also awarded the partnership £212,800 to allow its work to continue while a full application for the £2.2m grant is submitted.

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