Boost for Dearne wildlife habitat

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A cash windfall will see the redevelopment of a string of wildlife habitats along the Don and Rother rivers.

The Wildlife Trust for Sheffield and Rotherham has successfully applied for £226,929 from the Biodiversity Action Fund from WREN, the not-for-profit business that awards grants generated by landfill tax.

It means that work can start on creating a network of 12 connected sites, which includes the Fitzwilliam Canal at Parkgate.

Swinton councillor Ken Wyatt, cabinet member responsible for waterways and bio-diversity, said he was “delighted” with the news and thanked the Wildlife Trust and the Environment Agency for their partnership support in the funding application.

He added: “Rotherham has worked very well with WREN over the years and I am proud to say that Rotherham has made this application possible by providing the majority of the third party funding.

“It is a project that the council and the Rotherham Biodiversity Forum has been discussing for many years and so being able to kick-start the work with this project will be a real achievement and will mean that we can work with more partners and landowners in the future.

“With partners, the council, the Environment Agency and local organisations, the project has also attracted an additional £13,880 from Natural England and together will mean that significant improvements will be made to the sites so they can continue or start to create habitats that will support rare bird species as well as otters and fish.

“It means we will be able to not only improve these marvellous sites for wildlife but also improve the access to them to lots more people. They are all rich river habitats right on our urban doorstep that makes for perfect countryside escapes for lots of local people.”