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National Park secures funding for Esk Valley habitat restoration

Esk Valley by Mark BulmerEsk Valley by Mark Bulmer

5 August 2021

A project that aims to restore natural habitats, enhance carbon sequestration and improve water quality in the Esk Valley is one of 27 schemes in England to benefit from a pioneering new grant scheme.

The North York Moors National Park Authority has been awarded £100,000 from the Natural Environment Investment Readiness Fund to boost biodiversity in the Esk Valley catchment area while simultaneously attracting private investment.

The Fund has been established to support the development of nature-based projects until the point they become sustainable through financial return. This could be through the sale of carbon and biodiversity units (giving companies the opportunity to compensate for their emissions through habitat improvements), natural flood management benefits or through reduced water treatment costs. The National Park Authority will now work closely with farmers and land-owners in the region, in particular the Esk Valley Farmers Group, to design and model a range of projects such as planting new woodlands and establishing riverside meadows, which will help the land store or slow water. This in turn reduces the risk of flooding and creates favourable conditions for threatened local species including salmon, sea trout and the fresh water pearl mussel.

Esk Restoration Project Tree planting

Dr Briony Fox, Director of Conservation at the North York Moors National Park Authority, said:

“This pilot project aims to understand how to restore habitats across a significant area of the North York Moors, including one of its most beautiful valleys, in a way that benefits both nature and land managers.

“We look forward to working alongside our partners Palladium to help the Esk Valley Farmers Group create a sustainable method of generating income from activities that benefit wildlife and help tackle climate change.”

Tom Gegg, Manager of Nature Based Solutions at Palladium said:

“The pilot project in North York Moors is a critical step towards helping to restore nature in the UK. We look forward to working alongside our partners North York Moors National Park Authority to design a model that can leverage much needed private finance for nature restoration in the Esk Valley catchment.”

Speaking after the announcement of the first round of funding, Environment Minister Rebecca Pow said:

“To tackle the environmental challenges we face from climate change and biodiversity loss, it is crucial that domestic natural environment projects are able to attract private investment alongside support from the public sector.

“Unleashing innovation and growing new sources of finance, such as through the Natural Environment Investment Readiness Fund, are fundamental for delivering nature recovery and developing nature-based solutions to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050.”

It is hoped the project, which began this month, will provide a model for sustainable habitat regeneration that can be both replicated and scaled up across the UK National Park network and ultimately for wider landscape restoration.


Media contact

Catriona McLees, Head of Marketing & Communications
North York Moors National Park Authority
01439 772532

The North York Moors National Park

The North York Moors is a beautiful landscape of stunning moorland, ancient woodland and historic sites. Created on 28 November 1952 it became Britain’s sixth national park. Covering an area of 554 square miles (1,436 square kilometres) the National Park has 26 miles of coastline, two national nature reserves, 840 Scheduled Monuments and over 3,000 listed buildings, attracting an estimated 8.3 million visitors a year

The National Park has two visitor centres, The Moors National Park Centre, Danby and Sutton Bank National Park Centre, providing opportunities for cycling, walking, eating, picnicking, shopping, crafts and wildlife-watching. The centre in Danby also houses the Inspired by… gallery, which features regularly changing exhibitions by artists who draw their inspiration from the North York Moors.

The North York Moors National Park Authority works with a wide variety of people to care for this beautiful corner of Yorkshire, providing apprenticeships and volunteering opportunities with nearly 14% of staff being apprentices from local families.

To view other press releases and for further information about the North York Moors National Park, visit