The public is invited to have its say on the future management of the Manx uplands.
The invitation follows the publication of a draft strategy compiled by a group of key stakeholders.
Membership includes representatives of the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture (DEFA), the Manx Utilities Authority, Manx National Heritage, the Department of Economic Development, farmers, conservation groups and recreational users via the Green Lane Users’ Group.
The group is led by Professor Jim McAdam OBE, from Northern Ireland, who has extensive experience of upland areas across the globe.
In the strategy, the group recognises the important role upland stakeholders will play in the future management of the hills. It also identifies significant threats, such as climate change, land abandonment, loss of traditional skills and damage to peatland and archaeology, which must be addressed to prevent irreversible damage.
The strategy describes the Manx hills as being ‘unique in the British Isles’ and generally in ‘good condition, having not faced the historic overstocking which took place across the EU in the 1980s’.
Key recommendations include the creation of an agri-environment scheme, restoration of damaged peatland, enhancing the red grouse population and increased education and marketing of the many functions of the uplands.
Phil Gawne MHK, Minister for DEFA, said:
‘The Department commissioned this piece of work last year in recognition of the important role the uplands play in all aspects of Manx life, from the provision of our drinking water to food production, recreation, heritage and biodiversity as well as providing some of the Island’s best scenery.
‘There is a danger that we can take such places for granted and assume that they require no looking after. I am delighted that so many different stakeholder groups came together to produce this strategy and I look forward to public comments on it before considering how best to implement the recommendations of the report.’
The draft strategy, together with a range of other information and pictures, can be downloaded from the Isle of Man Government website hard copies can be provided on request.
Comments should be sent by email to firstname.lastname@example.org or by post to DEFA marked ‘Manx Uplands Strategy’, Thie Slieau Whallian, St John’s IM4 3AS, by Friday 30 May.
Following this period of consultation, the Department will consider how to prioritise and implement the recommendations.