A NEW five-year plan for the Yorkshire Heritage Coast is being drawn-up with the aim of improving its economy, conservation and recreation facilities.

The scheme will also focus on beach and water quality and community issues by linking up with funding organisations, include the EU’s LEADER funding programme and Local Enterprise Partnerships, said John Beech, the project officer.

In the past five years the Heritage Coast Programme has seen 10.5 miles of farm hedgerows planted on the Yorkshire coast landscape, nearly 110,000 trees and 1.7 miles of traditional drystone walls rebuilt, through the North York Moors National Park grant scheme.

“Almost 50 hectares – equivalent of 121 acres – of coastal undercliff is being grazed to keep the scrub undergrowth in check on important wildflower sites,” said John Beech, the project officer. In addition, 3,550 metres of watercourses have been fenced to prevent pollution going into coastal rivers, and drinking troughs have been provided for livestock.

Seven new ponds have been created and improvement work carried out to two large freshwater areas for wildlife such as wading birds, dragonflies and amphibians. One of the biggest success stories in the past five years’ programme has been the investment of more than £500,000 in conservation work for coastal farms through Environmental Stewardship Schemes, said Mr Beech.