ONE of the largest conservation projects in the UK will be making moorland near Sheffield green and healthy again – with the help of a helicopter and 5,500 bags of plant cuttings.
Bags of heather brash will be airlifted to Bleaklow in the Peak District and spread on to the moorland peat, damaged by centuries of air pollution and wildfires.
The operation is part of an EU-funded project called MoorLIFE, which aims to conserve more than 2,000 acres of Peak District and Pennine moors by 2015.
Cut from moors in the winter when the seeds are ripe, the heather brash will be taken from Glossop Low, Derbyshire and spread on to bare, eroding peat by workers using hand tools.
The brash reduces further erosion of the peat, as well as giving plants a microclimate to grow in, protecting them from harsh weather.
Healthy peat moors absorb and store carbon, help provide clean drinking water and support wildlife including birds, mammals and insects.
MoorLIFE manager Chris Dean said: “The work programme is huge but the rewards for us all are great. ”