Thirteen years after the Labour Government saved Thorne & Hatfield Moors from the destruction of peat digging, Caroline Flint has welcomed £2.3million EU LIFE+ funding to restore the precious peatland habitat.
Paying tribute to former colleague Kevin Hughes, Caroline told the audience: "Seventeen years ago, some of my colleagues and those of Kevin Hughes, Ed Miliband’s predecessor as MP for Doncaster North, used to look at us in bemusement as we explained that we needed to lobby Ministers and raise the threat to our Moors in the Commons.
"But the last Government responded to the clamour for Moorlands to be valued, just as national parks were before them. In 2003, Michael Meacher confirmed that peat working would all but end on Thorne and Hatfield Moors. Parts of Hatfield looked rather like a lunar landscape at the time. But public pressure and political will resulted in public money creating the landscape we have today.
The Don Valley MP told the event: "The European Union LIFE+ Programme funding enables 28 square kilometres of damaged peatlands to have a sustained restoration programme, soaking up water, improving biodiversity, storing vitalenabling creatures small and very small to thrive in a unique, squelchy habitat."
Caroline also paid tribute to Helen Kirk BEM, who has campaigned relentlessly to save the Moors for nearly 3 decades; and welcomed Linda McAvan MEP, who has been a strong supporter of the environment in the European Parliament.