North Pennines Current Initiatives
The North Pennines AONB Management Plan 2004-2009 is the statutory management plan for the area and provides a framework for action for the conservation and enhancement of the natural beauty and special qualities of the AONB. The AONB has an active AONP Partnership responsible for developing a wide range of environmental, social and economic projects and initiatives.
Pennine Dales Environmentally Sensitive Area
The Environmentally Sensitive Areas covers most of the upper dales. Uptake of agreements varies between the dales but take-up is generally high. The ESA will be replaced by the new Higher Level Scheme of Environmental Stewardship in 2005.
The amount of land in Countryside Stewardship varies considerably across the area. Existing agreements are mostly for uplands and field boundaries. Countryside Stewardship was replaced by Environmental Stewardship in 2005. Existing agreements, which last for 10 years, will progressively expire. Some of these may be replaced by new agreements under Environmental Stewardship.
Environmental Stewardship incorporates a higher level scheme providing funding for restoration, creation and specialised management works and an entry level scheme to support positive management of environmental features. The scheme was introduced in 2005 and take up in the area has been modest to date due to the presence of existing Countryside Stewardship and ESA Agreements. Future take-up is expected to be higher when these agreements come to an end.
Woodland Grand Scheme
Some woodlands, and particularly coniferous plantations, are managed or planted under Woodland Grant Scheme contracts. Take-up elsewhere is generally low which is indicative of a lack of active management in many of the smaller woods.
English Nature Management Agreements
Substantial areas of moorland SSSI in the south of the area, and particularly on the Moorland Plateau and into Lune Forest, are the subject of management agreements with English Nature.
The Mineral Valleys Project
The Mineral Valleys Project covers part of Weardale. It contains a range of projects for the enhancement and interpretation of natural and cultural heritage in West Durham, and is managed by English Nature and funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Local Environment Agency Plans
The area falls within the Local Environment Agency Plans (LEAP) for the Wear, Tees and Tyne catchments. The LEAPs contain proposals for the improvement of water quality and riverside habitats.
For further information about Countryside Stewardship and Environmental Stewardship visit Natural England‘s website. Information on the English Woodland Grant Scheme can be found on the Forestry Commission website.