Building agreement and partnerships
We are leaders in the field of resolving conflicts of opinion and building consensus to manage the countryside by agreement.
Matt was a pioneer, establishing and leading one of the first genuine consensus building countryside management processes, the Stanage Forum from 1998 to 2011.
Stanage Edge is an iconic landscape in the middle of the Peak District National Park but only 6 miles from Sheffield, receiving 250,000 visitors per year. There was huge conflict of interest between all interest groups and with the National Park Authority as landowners. Matt designed and led a consensus building process which saw the Forum develop a plan for the future of the estate which resolved all conflicts for the benefit of the beautiful landscape and its wildlife. The Forum was upheld as a national and international example of best practice in DEFRA’s review of National Park and AONB policy and practice in 2005, in David Bellamy’s book “Conflict in the Countryside” and other international and European protected area publications. Stanage received visits from various protected landscapes around the world to learn about the Forum including from Japan, Turkey, Sweden, Norway and the New Forest and South Downs National Parks establishment teams.
Matt went on to train other organisations in how to establish and manage such public engagement processes. Groups trained include Sheffield Wildlife Trust, Friends of the Lake District, Leicestershire Doorstep Green partnerships, Welsh Community First officers, Herefordshire Wildlife Trust, Bromyard Downs Commoners Association and Malvern Hills AONB.
Eastern Moors & Sheffield Moors Partnerships
Matt was instrumental in forming the National Park Authority’s partnership with the RSPB and National Trust (their first joint land management venture) on the Eastern Moors Estate.
He also established the broader Sheffield Moors Partnership in which the Estate sits but also involves Sheffield Wildlife Trust’s Blacka Moor, the Authority’s Stanage/North Lees Estate and Sheffield City Council, bringing in a multitude of user group and community partners associated with Sheffield and its relationship with the eastern side of the National Park.
All of our working careers have been based on working in partnership with a very wide range of organisations to achieve the best for wildlife, people and environment, to the point that we are leaders in the field. Whilst at Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, Matt led the Trust in its vision to create Living Landscapes throughout Derbyshire.
This involved extensive partnership working, for example with city, county and local councils, Natural England, the Environment Agency, Toyota, aggregate companies, local arts organisations, universities, the RSPB, the National Trust, the National Stone Centre, Trent Rivers Trust, the NFU and CLA and the World Heritage Site. It also involved working with diverse communities and groups including friends of groups, user groups, bird and other species groups, parish councils, community organisations, education establishments, the NFU, landowners – pretty much all sectors of the environmental field and beyond in the county.