Manx Upland Strategy
The Manx uplands are an iconic part of our landscape and heritage. Reference to the ‘sweet mountain air’ and ‘green hills and rocks’ are enshrined in our national anthem and the colours of the heather and gorse are woven into the very fabric of Manx tartan. The hills are a place of great beauty, yet for some they are also a place to work and for others a place to exercise or simply enjoy open space. Our uplands are also home to plants and animals that whilst familiar to us, are rare and important in a global and European context.
Production of food is an important and obvious function of hill land. But surprisingly, the Manx hills provide everyday functions that most people take for granted. Peatlands, which cover most of our hills reduce the impacts of climate change by locking up carbon dioxide, collect and filter our drinking water and slow the passage of rainfall into streams and rivers, thus reducing downstream flood risk.
These multiple uses are of great benefit to the economy of the Isle of Man and the well-being of its people. It is important that the hills continue to provide these benefits long into the future.
Ensuring sustainable management of such a wide range of uses to the satisfaction of all interested parties whilst retaining functions essential to the well being of the Isle of Man is one of the challenges faced by the Department.
In May 2013 the Department instigated a working group of uplands stakeholders to identify the diverse uses and values of the uplands and to develop a vision for the future of the Departments uplands estate and adjoining lands. This group is being chaired by Professor Jim McAdam of the Glenwherry Hill Regeneration Partnership in Northern Ireland who will ensure that the views of all parties are fairly represented.
Following three steering group meetings and extensive communications, a final report was submitted to the DEFA Minister in February 2014 who approved the recommendations for further consideration.
The Department is now inviting comment from the public on potential methods of delivering these recommendations. The closing dates for comments is 5pm, Friday 30 May.
Links to Upland Resources
BBC - Trees near 'carbon saturation point'
BBC- Rare ‘Red grouse’ saved from extinction at Glenwherry
Belfast Hills Partnership
Climate Northern Ireland- mountain fires and water quality
DEFRA- Uplands Policy Review 2013
GWCT- Hen harriers and the Joint Raptor Study
GWCT- Uplands biodiversity
GWCT- Waders on the fringe
Lake High Fells Upland Advisory Project
Langholm Moorland Demonstration Project
Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust- Pumlumon project
Moors for the Future
Natural England- Upland Management Handbook
NFU- Farming delivers from the hills and uplands
NFU - What future for our uplands?
North-west Upland Farming
Peatlands Northern Ireland
Planet Earth online- Protecting peat in the UK upland
RSPB- Cumulus report: impacts of changing livestock numbers on biodiversity
SRUC- Farmings Retreat from the hills
SRUC- Response from the hills
The Heather Trust
UK- Draft Peatland Code
UK Sustainable Uplands project