Last week, the Environment, Food & Rural Affairs Minister Victoria Prentis MP visited the High Peak to meet local farmers, environmental scientists, and local MP Robert Largan.
The first stop for the Minister was Edale, to meet with Hope Valley Farmers' members and hear about the challenges they face; their views on post-Brexit agriculture; and the Government’s environmental schemes. The discussions made for hungry work, so the farmers provided a lunch full of local produce to showcase the best of what the Hope Valley has to offer.
The Minister and Robert then hiked up one of the highest hills in the Peak District—Brown Knoll and Rushop Edge—to meet with the Moors for the Future Partnership. This is a science project monitoring the health of UK moorlands, and the Minister was particularly interested in seeing the work being done to restore local peat moors.
Robert took this opportunity to make the case for peat moor restoration, which helps reduce the risk of fire and flooding, while improving water quality and enhancing biodiversity. It also increases carbon capture, providing a nature-based solution for tackling climate change.
Robert's first question in Parliament after his election highlighted the importance of restoring peatlands to reduce fire risk and tackle climate change. Following this intervention, funding for peatland restoration was announced in the Budget.
Hope Valley Farmers commented:
"A very constructive hour was spent discussing future agri-environment schemes and the challenges faced by farmers in the Uplands.
"We emphasised the need for a simple, flexible stewardship scheme which rewards farmers for managing and maintaining the beautiful Hope Valley landscape and wildlife habitats.
"We also promoted the vital role of the uplands as an area delivering high quality, grass-fed, sustainably produced food for the nation."
Robert Largan, MP for High Peak, commented:
"It was great to welcome Farming Minister Victoria Prentis to the High Peak to meet Hope Valley Farmers and the Moors for the Future Partnership.
"We have the best farmers in the world here in the High Peak, producing high-quality foods and serving as custodians of our beautiful countryside. I'm proud to represent them in Parliament.
"Meeting with Moors for the Future was also a good opportunity to make a case for peat moor restoration. I've helped secure a huge increase in funding for local restoration, but there's lots more to be done."