Partnership working benefits Cotswolds communities and landscape

Cotswolds communities and landscape have benefited from nearly one million pounds of funding provided through the National Grid gas pipeline project in 2010, a new report shows.

The construction of a 44km gas pipeline between Wormington and Sapperton in the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) last year was a major project which had many implications for the Cotswolds landscape. However, thanks to a positive and close-working relationship between the Cotswolds Conservation Board and National Grid, nearly one million pounds of funding and in-kind contributions were negotiated by the Board to help mitigate the impact of the pipeline on communities and the landscape within the AONB.

The gas pipeline project, detailed in the newly published Cotswolds Conservation Board’s Annual Review 2010/11, provided: £400,000 of funding towards the rebuild or reinstatement of dry-stone walls in the AONB; £100,000 of funding for community projects as well as nearly £100,000 towards a range of climate change projects. In addition to the National Grid funding, landowners, farmers and communities have contributed to these sums. The walling grants, for example, have already secured an additional £343,000 towards 3130 metres of restored walls in the wider landscape.

Other funding went towards the provision of specialist ecological, environmental and archaeological advice throughout the project to ensure the continued conservation and enhancement of the landscape.

Martin Lane, Director of the Cotswolds Conservation Board said: “Working in partnership with National Grid last year proved extremely beneficial for all concerned. This was a major construction project taking place in a protected landscape, yet thanks to a close working relationship with National Grid, we were able to not only ensure minimal impact on the landscape, but also help lever in significant resources for the benefit of the AONB.”

Tim Vaughan, Project Manager with National Grid said: “The extensive dialogue we had with the CCB, right from the initial planning stages, was a key factor in the success of this project. Inevitably there have been a number of challenges, but these have been overcome with the support of the CCB and local communities. We hope our commitment to initiatives within the AONB will leave a lasting legacy.”

In addition to the gas pipeline project, other highlights from last year, detailed in the Annual Review include:

• Nearly £50,000 of grants awarded to 15 community environmental projects through the Sustainable Development Fund.
• The development and launch of the new Escape to the Cotswolds discovery centre at Northleach.
• The Cotswolds Ancient Woodland Project has contributed to 102 successful English Woodland Grant Schemes valued at more than £1.4 million.
• 127 people trained in traditional rural skills – dry-stone walling, hedgelaying and woodland coppicing.
• New rural skills website launched – www.cotswoldsruralskills.org.uk
• Nearly 44,000 hours of volunteer work carried out by Cotswold Voluntary Wardens.
• A ‘Highly Commended’ award received by from the Landscape Institute Awards for the Board’s work in strategic landscape planning.

ENDS

PHOTOGRAPH ATTACHED: Left to right: Cotswolds Conservation Board director Martin Lane; National Grid project officer Tim Vaughan; and CCB Chairman Jeff West in front of one of the reinstated dry-stone walls along the gas pipeline corridor.

PHOTOGRAPH 2 ATTACHED: Shows the same area during the gas pipeline construction period.

Notes to editors:

  • The full Annual Review 2010/11 can be downloaded here.
  • The Cotswolds was designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in 1966 and this year celebrates its 45th anniversary.
  • The Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) is looked after by the Cotswolds Conservation Board – an independent organisation with 37 members, 15 nominated by local authorities, 8 by parish councils and 14 appointed by Government.
  • The Government has designated Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) and National Parks as our finest countryside and they are recognised as being of national importance.
  • The Cotswolds is the second largest protected landscape in England after the Lake District National Park and represents 10% of the total AONB area in the UK. It covers 2,038 square kilometres (790 square miles), stretching from Warwickshire and Worcestershire in the north, through Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire, down to Bath and Wiltshire in the south.
  • The Cotswolds AONB is the largest of the family of 46 AONBs in the UK. For further details: www.aonb.org.uk