Council set to agree funding for Tees-Swale initiative

The meadows of Swaledale. Photo: Guy Carpenter.

A major natural heritage project focusing on some of the North’s most remote communities and outstanding landscapes looks set to receive a funding injection from taxpayers after a £400,000 shortfall emerged.

Richmondshire District Council looks set to step in to boost the five-year £8.5m Tees-Swale: naturally connected initiative, which is scheduled to restore, expand and connect habitats across 829sq km of Teesdale and Swaledale, enhancing wildlife and delivering multiple public benefits from September next year.

In partnership with farmers, landowners and conservation agencies, the joint North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority scheme will support and increase the skills needed to sustain the high nature value farming systems that work well in upland areas.

The scheme follows a survey in 2017 of some of the most important habitats in Swaledale outside of sites of special scientific interest that found only 60 per cent of them, by area, are in good condition.

The Tees-Swale: naturally connected initiative will enable farmers to share knowledge and their land management skills; work to improve and restore habitats for the benefit of wildlife and to allow farms to work as a whole system and sustain valuable low intensity farming systems, which benefit wildlife, the environment and people.

It will also connect visitors with the way the landscape is managed and why this is important to them, through interpretation, activities and improvements to rights of way; build skills through traineeships and volunteering; develop on-farm activities and a programme of temporary landscape art; and build resilience in the farming communities for a strong future workforce.

A report to the council’s corporate board states: “The task facing the project is to raise £3m including in-kind contributions to unlock £5.7m from the National Lottery.”

The scheme has £1m of direct cash contributions in place, including £250,000 direct input from the national park authority, £1.4m of in-kind contributions and £200,000 from individual agri –environment agreements, leaving further work in seeking to bridge the funding gap.

Councillors are being urged to approve £50,000 towards the scheme, which will involve works to habitats such as Gunnerside Gill and Arkle Beck, community groups such as Leyburn Youth Club and Youth Café, Risedale Youth and Community Centre and primary and secondary schools across the district will also be engaged with opportunities for learning and participation.

It has been estimated Richmondshire would stand to benefit from £2.6m of the funding for projects in the district.


  1. We are running a deficit and have done for many years now, so the money is not coming from current tax payers, it is borrowed fund to add to the £1.8 trillion of debt we already have. Plus the £250,000 direct input from the national park authority, is no such thing, where do you think this money comes from?

    If you are going to write stories like this at least be honest with where the funding comes from.

    We claim to be in austerity and yet we can waste huge sums of money like this, while so many more urgents problems simply get ignored. None of this is essential spending. Remember it will be your children and grandchildren who are picking up this tab!

  2. Complete and utter waste of money, why is there no investment into business and job creation?

    Farmers, landowners and Rural Agencies? Receiving more public funds (debt) and lets guess how many well paid jobs and business opportunities are created?

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