Land Trust responds to landfill grant plans

Birchwood-based national land management charity, the Land Trust, has responded to government plans to consider new options to change the Landfill Communities Fund.

This week the government claimed environmental bodies have been accumulating large amounts of unspent money which it said has not been reaching communities as quickly as it should.

However, the Land Trust, which has benefited from several Landfill Communities Fund grants to transform a range of sites for local communities, such as the recently opened Port Sunlight River Park in Wirral, is concerned that measures could jeopardise the long-term investment in green spaces for generations to come.

Euan Hall, chief executive of the Land Trust, said: "The Landfill Communities Fund has been vital to the delivery of both community and environmental projects across the country.

"Grants from funders including Biffa Award, SITA Trust and the Veolia Environmental Trust have allowed us to transform a closed landfill site into a country park; improve one of the UK's most important sites for invertebrates; and create new habitats at a derelict ex-coal mine.

"In order to provide effective and sustainable land management and not just 'flash in the pan' investment which burns out very quickly, there has to be a long-term strategy – which is why there shouldn't be a great panic to distribute money.

"Instead, a carefully thought-out funding policy, such as the Land Trust deploys, is a much better way to allow communities to reap the rewards from generation to generation."

The government has said it will now consider different options in consultation with landfill site operators, environmental bodies and their regulatory body, ENTRUST to improve the flow of funding to communities.

Hall added: "Like many charities, we rely on funding to provide a sustainable approach to managing community land and we are proud of our track record in delivering long term funding which consistently delivers results for the benefits of communities. Simply put, we are in it for the long haul.

"With that in mind, we ask the government to carefully consider any supposed 'improvement' to the Landfill Communities Fund. Such impatience could have devastating long-term consequences."

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