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Restoring Fenay Beck for people and wildlife

Tuesday 28th November 2017

Water Vole - credit Elliott NeepWater Vole - credit Elliott Neep

Work has begun to improve Fenay Beck in West Yorkshire, thanks to £44,123 received from Biffa Award.

The ‘Restoring Fenay Beck’ project, funded by Biffa Award, is a one-year project which aims to improve and create habitat along the Fenay Beck. The beck runs from the easterly outskirts of Huddersfield through to Shepley, in Kirklees, West Yorkshire. Over the years, the beck has been altered heavily by humans, which has had a negative impact on its habitat, wildlife and water quality.

Working closely with the local community, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust will create new habitat and put in measures to reduce diffuse pollution and stabilise the riverbanks, as well as collaborating closely with local landowners to improve agricultural practices. This work will bring direct and indirect benefits for locally important species such as great-crested newt, water vole, brown long-eared bat, noctule bat, soprano pipistrelle bat, otter, reed bunting and a wide range of aquatic invertebrate species, delivering multiple benefits to both people and wildlife in the surrounding area.

The planned improvements align with the Trust’s vision for a connected, living landscape. Rivers are natural corridors between wildlife-friendly areas, and helping them to flourish allows wildlife to move around both the countryside and urban areas.

A key part of the project will involve engaging with local community groups, with local volunteers being offered training in Riverfly monitoring, practical conservation techniques and invasive species surveying and monitoring. It is hoped the project will raise awareness of issues facing the beck and inspire local communities to take action, developing a sense of ownership and long-term sustainability measures.

Alex Green, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust Project Assistant said: “Restoring Fenay Beck is such a great project to help the local wildlife and community. It’s a great to have got the much needed funding from BIFFA and from growing up in Huddersfield I know first-hand what a big difference this project will make to the local area. It will provide a great opportunity for volunteers to get involved in their local community and give something back to the environment, while also gaining great practical conservation experience.”

Gillian French, Biffa Award Head of Grants, said: “Rivers are vital habitats, and great for connecting people with nature. We are proud that through the Landfill Communities fund, Biffa Award has been able to support this project that will benefit both the people and the wildlife of the local area.