Cotton Famine Road Project

Read Through event at Touchstones

What a brilliant evening spent with fantastic people! Thanks so much to Mick Martin, Jude Wright and the wonderful team of performers who rose to the challenge and took the first steps to bring the play to life!

Mick Martin is a writer and theatre maker. You can find more information about the Cotton Famine Road Project HERE.

Wind Farm Development Concerns

The forum Trustees have written to Sir Tony Lloyd MP and you might want to do the same.

Dear Sir Tony

Rooley Moor Neighbourhood Forum is a registered charity with the objective of protecting, preserving, enhancing and educating about the area. Like everyone else, the forum Trustees are very concerned about the increasing costs of energy and are mindful of the difficulties faced by families.

It seems the prime minister is expected to approve financial incentives to encourage communities to accept windfarms in exchange for lower energy bills and we would like to make our position clear on this matter.

You will recall previous applications by Coronation Power Ltd to develop Rooley Moor and Peel Energy Ltd (Scout Moor Wind Farm Expansion Ltd) to extend the current Scout Moor Wind Farm were opposed by community groups in Rochdale, Rossendale and Bury who came together in response to these applications. The depth of public objection to these proposals was widespread and considerable and the views of local communities were taken into account because of the Ministerial Statement HSWS42 dated 18th June 2015, which allowed local people to have the final opinion on the acceptability or otherwise of wind farm applications. 

We believe public opinion in our area remains unchanged with too much of the moorland having been sacrificed and that it’s time for other parts of the country to step up. Our area might not be classified as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, but it does have its own natural rugged beauty. Yet, for example, there are very few wind turbines near to motorway routes, which can hardly be classed as beautiful.

We appreciate there is a difficult balance to be made. The pressure on our open spaces and amenity landscapes has never been greater than it is today. Evidence was presented at the Scout Moor Wind Farm Expansion public inquiry that the additional energy provided by the proposed development was minimal and out of balance with the social, visual and natural environment impacts. With over 300,000 constituents residing in clear view of these proposed developments, they made their feelings clear from the many community and individual objections, which along with the Report by The Planning Inspector and the response from The Secretary of State, are on public record and are not repeated here. It is though worth reminding ourselves of this important summarising comment – “The Secretary of State ….. agrees with the Inspector that the proposal includes an area that is a valued landscape because of its openness, tranquillity and attractive views into the lower valleys.. “.

We believe any argument for the permanent loss of such a large tract of Common Land on Scout and Rooley Moors, running alongside the historically significant Cotton Famine Road, simply does not stand up in terms of environmental and energy efficiency and we continue to be against an expansion of onshore wind in our area on the grounds of cost, protecting wildlife, heritage and aesthetics.

The protection of our valuable open moorland spaces must be preserved. This is even more the case after the continuing difficulties brought about by Covid when it has become very clear that the upland spaces of Scout and Rooley Moors were literally a lifesaver to many of the 300,000 local constituents.

We urge our elected members to:

  • take note that the views of our communities are unchanged
  • ask the Government to confirm that the message within the Ministerial Statement HSWS42 (which allowed local communities to have a significant opinion on wind farm development in their areas) remains as we move forward in these ever changing, challenging times
  • advise the Secretary of State for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, Mr Kwasi Kwarteng of the depth and strength of local opinion and urge him to adopt Jake Berry’s “Not on Our Hills” policy
  • support a specific initiative to protect, promote and enhance our upland, open moorland for the benefit of future generations

We hope you will add your support to our proposal to have a robust initiative in place to protect our environment from further exploitation. This area has contributed significantly already to the historic onshore wind energy program with the numerous wind farm developments on our doorstep and we resolutely believe there should be no further development ‘on our hills’.

Thank you and kind regards,

The Trustees
Rooley Moor Neighbourhood Forum

Blanket Bogs are worth protecting

Moors for the Future Partnership have produced a great series of five short films to help people understand the multiple benefits of healthy blanket bogs and why they are precious and worth protecting.

Blanket bogs are worth protecting because they’re huge stores of carbon

Blanket bogs are unusual places. Because of how wet they are, dead plants don’t decompose like they do in other habitats. They do something else instead. And what they do sucks carbon dioxide out of the air and locks it into the ground.

Join Robin, a Moors for the Future Partnership Junior Ranger, as she discusses why blanket bogs are so important for locking up carbon and tackling climate change.

Blanket bogs are worth protecting because they reduce the risk and severity of flooding

It rains a lot on the moors of the Peak District and South Pennines. The unique plants that grow on healthy blanket bogs slow the flow of rain from the moors to the towns and cities below.

Mollie from Moors for the Future Partnership carries out an experiment on Bleaklow in the Peak District to show us how these landscapes can reduce the risk and severity of flooding.

Blanket bogs are worth protecting because they improve the quality of water flowing into our rivers and reservoirs

On the hills above the cities of Sheffield and Manchester, lies an internationally important habitat called blanket bog. Healthy blanket bogs can improve the quality of the water that runs into the rivers and reservoirs that provide our houses with water.

Join Andrew from Yorkshire Water as he performs an experiment to show us how blanket bogs improve the water that runs through our taps.

Blanket bogs are worth protecting because of the wide range wildlife they support

Blanket bogs are special habitats that provide a home for an array of beautiful wildlife. Sitting on top of peat soil that is thousands of years old, the plants and animals that live there have to be specially adapted for the wild weather and waterlogged conditions that encompass this distinct landscape.

Join Kait from the National Trust, a partner in Moors for the Future Partnership, to see some of the exquisite creatures that call these special places home.

Blanket bogs are worth protecting because they are vast open spaces where people can enjoy nature, wildlife and space

The vast open landscapes of the Peak District and South Pennine moors provide a sanctuary for people to breathe and play. Calm yet wild, the moors are important for our health and wellbeing.

Working with Moors for the Future Partnership, Carol from Peak District Mosaic, tells us how the moors have inspired her to have adventures and to find out more about what makes these landscapes so special.

Help protect our Peat Bogs – Get Involved

Cotton Famine Road Project Proposal

Christmas Message

Christmas message from the Chair

In writing this not a lot seems to have changed from this time last year. On the positive side, vaccination meant a return to near normal. We went back to work and managed to get hair cuts again. Then came Omicron which seems to have put us back somewhat.
At present we don’t have Government mandating what we can and cannot do but public reaction seems to be putting the hospitality industry back into crisis at this important time for them.
The good news seems to be that vaccination is working well and keeping hospital admissions down.
The Forum has been active this year, particularly with our Off Road Initiative, raising funds and organising works to protect our Moor and I would like to thank our Trustees who have stepped down for their commitment and to welcome our new Trustees on board.
I do hope that you will all be able to have as good a time as possible this Christmas whilst remaining safe and well.
On behalf of the Forum I would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy New Year.
Andy Meek
Chair – RMNF

Protecting our Moorland

High Sheriff of Greater Manchester – Area Visit

On Friday 1st October 2021 the High Sheriff of Greater Manchester, Diane Hawkins, visited the area to look at the work being done to reduce the damage being caused by illegal off-road vehicles to the moorland surrounding Rochdale.

Over the last five years a central theme of Spotland & Falinge Ward and Norden Ward area meetings has been the adverse effect of illegal off-road vehicles (motorbikes, 4X4’s, quads, etc.) on residents, the environment, upland farming and leisure activities (horse riding, rambling, running, etc.). During that time Greater Manchester Police and United Utilities have worked together to try and diminish these illegal activities, primarily to reduce pollutants in the water run-off going into our local reservoirs and to lessen the possibility of a major incident should a vehicle full of fuel and oil end up in a reservoir.

More recently global warming and damage to peat, which is a natural carbon store, has come to the forefront and we can all see for ourselves the adverse effect unlawful off-roading is having on the natural environment, which includes protected species of ground nesting birds. Upland farming is suffering with livestock being stressed or killed, sheep aborting lambs and grazing being destroyed. Even the local windfarm on Scout Moor and the nearby Marshalls Quarry have been affected with damage to service tracks and regularly having to take action to neutralise spilled oil and petrol, removing petrol cans, broken glass and litter. And there’s always the risk, during those warm summer days when we like to get out into the open, of a moorland fire being started by a vehicle’s hot exhaust or a broken bottle acting like a magnifying glass – let’s not forget the recent moorland fires on Saddleworth Moor and Winter Hill.

As a result a group of like-minded volunteers decided to step up and work with the various organisations to try and do something positive to help, and on Friday Mrs Hawkins was able to see first-hand the collaboration between the various organisations that have pulled together to protect our moorland.

It’s quite staggering to see the number of organisations involved and we are grateful for the help and support from the High Sheriff, the Greater Manchester Lieutenancy Office of the Duchy of Lancaster, the Greater Manchester High Sheriffs Police Trust, the Lord of the Manor of Rochdale, Greater Manchester Police, Lancashire Police, United Utilities, Rossendale & Pendle Mountain Rescue Team, Rochdale and Rossendale MP’s Sir Tony Lloyd and Jake Berry, Rochdale Council & the Rochdale Ward Councillors and the local Area Forum representatives, the West Pennines Commoners Association, Rochdale and Bury Bridleways Association, BayWa R.E, Marshalls Quarry, Rochdale Ramblers, Peak and Northern Footpaths Society, National Trail Officers for Natural England, Prickshaw & Broadley Fold Neighbourhood Watch, Healey Dell Heritage Centre & Tea Rooms and BBC Northwest News.

Thanks go to David Pheasey for the photographs, which record a memorable day where many people representing their various organisations came together to show it’s possible to work together to achieve a shared objective – Our thanks go to all involved!

Please click on any image to scroll through the photos.