MWT and MNFU pledge to collaborate more

Graham Makepeace-Warne

MWT and the Manx National Farmers Union came together today to sign a memorandum of understanding aiming to deliver better collaboration between the two organisations.

Manx Wildlife Trust and Manx National Farmers’ Union sign Memorandum of Understanding.

Today, Manx Wildlife Trust (MWT) and Manx National Farmers’ Union (MNFU) have come together to agree and sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU). The two organisations want to collaborate in relation to the Manx countryside, wildlife and wider environment.

The Isle of Man has deep roots in farming, which has been a big part of Island life for hundreds of years. The Island covers 141,440 acres of which 75% is utilised for agriculture, which is a huge percentage of the Island. Within this, the Isle of Man hosts a range of different habitats, from upland to lowland, a mix of grassland pasture and heather moorland, bogs and fens and not forgetting the vast lengths of hedgerow that often border many of the Island's fields. These habitats host a diverse range of Manx flora and fauna, some of which are rare in other parts of the British Isles. Clearly this represents a hugely important opportunity for wildlife conservation in the Isle of Man.

MWT and MNFU aim to, through this MoU, collaborate and work together in matters of the Island’s environment and wildlife conservation, along with championing local produce and the importance of countryside education in schools and in sustainable farming practices. The ability to learn from both organisations is also a great advantage of this MOU.

The MoU was signed today at Close Sartfield, one of MWT’s nature reserves. Leigh Morris, MWT CEO, and Vivienne Davies, Chair of MWT Council, signed the MOU on behalf of MWT. Leigh said at the signing: ‘This is a real opportunity for the Island, for conservation and farming to come together and do more for 88% of our land.’ He continued, ‘Clearly there are going to be situations where we don’t agree and it’s important that this MoU recognises that. But pragmatically, and for the greater good of the Island - particularly under the Biosphere status, it’s important for us to be able to work together more closely.’  Vivienne added, ‘By working together we can look for joint aims and objectives that are achievable and are actually going to make a difference.’ She continued, ‘This is a magical opportunity for wildlife to restore, recover and recuperate which we all know is important for the air we breath, the food we eat and our quality of life. I’m so pleased that we are involved.’

Signing on behalf of MNFU were Tim Johnston, MNFU President, and Andrew Cooper, MNFU General Secretary. Tim said, ‘We want a wider recognition of the importance of the environment, of wildlife and issues around climate change. As the major land managers on the Island, we are keen to work with others to make that a success which is underpinned by a viable future for Manx agriculture’. Andrew remarked, ‘This has been in the making for a few years now and it’s great to see both organisations coming together for the betterment of Manx agriculture and the environment'.

Both organisations are looking forward to a close working relationship, working towards the goals of the Isle of Man Biosphere. 

MWT are keen to work with all farmers and other organisations across the Isle of Man to champion conservation and look at ways in which wildlife and the environment can support other sectors through a more synergistic approach.

Andrew Cooper & Tim Johnston from MNFU with Viv Davies & Leigh Morris from MWT