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£3m funding boost for Plantlife meadow project
PLANT conservation charity Plantife is leading an innovative national project to save the UK’s remaining fragments of meadow.
The charity, which has its headquarters in Rollestone Street, Salisbury is at the head of a partnership of conservation organisations and local councils which has just been awarded a £3m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund for its Save our Magnificent Meadows project.
Nicola Hutchinson from Plantlife said: “For the conservation of grassland plants and other wildlife this is incredible news. Our aim all along has been to establish a programme and a profile for the 'Cinderella of the conservation world'.
“There has never been a grassland programme of this scale or ambition before and it is an amazing opportunity for Plantlife, for the project partners, for all the beneficiaries of the project and for grassland wildlife.”
There were once natural wild flower meadows in every parish but today only 2 per cent of the meadows that existed in the 1930s remain. Nearly 7.5 million acres of wildflower meadow have been lost so far and they are still being destroyed.
Save our Magnificent Meadows aims to protect, conserve and restore 74,000 acres of meadow over the next four years, involving more than 500,000 members of the public, working closely with other organisations such as wildlife trusts, the RSPB and the National Trust.
The project will focus on the Fermanagh grasslands of Northern Ireland, the pastures of west Wales, Scottish grasslands from Edinburgh to Aberdeenshire, the calaminarian and whin grasslands of Northumberland and traditional meadows and pastures of southern England.
Drew Bennellick, HLF’s head of landscape and natural heritage, said: “The Heritage Lottery Fund is proud to be supporting this project to help protect and sustain one of our most precious yet disappearing habitats. Saving our Magnificent Meadows is brilliant in its simplicity, its partnership approach and its ability to harness the power of hundreds of volunteers.
“The project will deliver a landscape-scale ecological impact working across 55 sites from Scotland to the West Country. “It is projects like this that HLF is so keen to support to ensure we continue to benefit from the free ecosystem services these habitats provide and that they continue to survive for future generations to enjoy.”