Private Lands Portfolio

Working together to achieve common aims

A portfolio of projects committed to working with private land owners to achieve conservation aims at a landscape scale

The portfolio has allowed £8 million to be spent on conserving and protecting privately-owned moorland between 2008 and 2018

The works have many benefits including locking in carbon on the moors and reducing the risk of flooding downstream as well as providing better habitats for wildlife

Working together

Project start date: April 2013
Project end date:  March 2020

Our private lands portfolio of projects facilitates a co-ordinated approach by working with managers of privately-owned land to achieve our aim of vast, healthy moorland landscapes.

Landscape-scale working needs co-ordination of areas with human-made boundaries, to ensure they become seamless parts of a well-managed moorland landscape.  

Natural England has provided protected sites expertise and substantial funding for capital works through its Higher Level Stewardship Scheme. Ensuring that the proposed work recognises the special characteristics of each area in order to achieve biodiversity benefits is a complex process requiring joint working with the landowners, neighbours and other partners. The Peak District National Park Authority has provided the financial management, legal and administrative support necessary to host and run such an ambitious portfolio of projects. Moors for the Future Partnership staff and partner organisations have worked together to provide the specialist expertise in managing moorland habitats for wildlife in order to develop, implement and monitor effective techniques and land management.

The long-term commitment and involvement of all of these people is essential for projects to realise their potential and be successful.

Efficient management at a landscape scale

By working in partnership across landownership boundaries, we can conserve large areas using efficiencies of scale to avoid the wasted resources of a piecemeal approach. We can make the most of available resources to meet larger and ongoing funding requirements.

This approach has allowed a once-in-a-generation amount of funding from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Rural Development Programme for England to be invested by Natural England. Combined with resources from elsewhere, our private lands portfolio enabled £8 million to be spent on conserving and protecting privately-owned moorland between 2008 and 2018. The benefits to the public of these activities are wide ranging. From better habitats for wildlife, including breeding grounds for endangered birds like curlew, to locking carbon on the moors and reducing the risk of flooding downstream, halting further degradation of moorland in the Peak District and South Pennines is vitally important, regardless of ownership boundaries.

Working with private landowners

Plans for each area within the landscape are drawn up by Natural England and the landowner with the aim of improving moorland habitat, protected site condition and biodiversity.

Developing and delivering plans include:

  • agreeing outcomes with land managers, statutory bodies  and, where possible, other stakeholders
  • assigning works to Higher Level Stewardship Agreements to secure funding
  • supervising contracted work and liaising with Natural England advisers
  • managing the financial, legal, administrative and staff resources required to undertake the work
  • linking funding payments for each Higher Level Stewardship Agreement with the wider project and timetable, to ensure economies of scale

Between 2008 and 2018 we have:

worked with 22 landowners

re-vegetated 7.5 square kilometres of bare peat (ongoing)

taken one government minister, three members of parliament, the chair of Natural England, and the chair and chief executive of the Environment Agency onto site to see what has been achieved through our partnership work