The Moorland Association appoints Amanda Anderson as first ever Director.

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The Moorland Association (MA), an acclaimed national organisation protecting over 850,000 acres of globally recognised heather moorland, has appointed its first ever Director. The MA has brought a woman to the helm for the first time in its 29-year history, to replace its founding secretary.

Amanda Anderson, 42, of Austwick, near Lancaster, will be looking after the interests of some of earth’s most fragile landscapes – along with the £67 million pound English grouse shooting industry.

The mother of two said: “I’m delighted to have been given this hugely important role. These are challenging times, not just for our organisation, but the countryside as a whole.” MA chairman, Robert Benson, applauded the appointment, explaining:  “Mrs Anderson is eminently qualified with expertise in grouse moor management, food, farming, environment and conservation. Her commitment, dedication and pragmatism made her the obvious choice.”

She has spent the last 14 years looking after MA’s communications through her own company, Anderson PR Ltd, and says she has always been passionate about the organisation and its ideals.

“I fervently believe that careful management of heather moorlands, with grouse shooting as the lynchpin, can produce the best benefits for wildlife, landscape and local economies,” added Mrs Anderson.

“This iconic land has safeguarded three quarters of the world’s remaining heather moorland and is a haven for exceptional and endangered species.

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“The gains are enormous: water in the taps; vital ecosystems; essential habitats and the protection of remarkable flora and fauna.”

The new directorship reflects ballooning interest in moorland and peatlands through national and international wildlife and habitat designations, food security, climate change mitigation, flooding, water quality and supply.

“My work with MA continues to bridge the interests of our members’ 175 English and Welsh moors with government departments and agencies which set and regulate policies and targets for biodiversity and ecosystems,” added Mrs Anderson.

“This impacts hugely on our landowners, in whose hands true conservation rests. Sustainable goals can only be achieved if land managers are fully involved.

“The English grouse shooting industry provides vital income for conservation and supports over 1,500 jobs. This is a massive mandate and enormously exciting!”

Mrs Anderson will shadow secretary, Martin Gillibrand, until he retires in May. The MA’s ambitious aims include seeing 250,000 further acres of heather moorland regenerated, boosting populations of important birds, plants and animals.

According to Mrs Anderson it will help Britain reach its Biodiversity 2020 goals.

With a masters degree in aquaculture, honours degree in zoology, plus a further degree in post-16 education, her 15-year entrepreneurial career involved land-based marketing and communications, working with leading countryside agencies, companies and estates.

She has also been countryside management course manager and lecturer at Lancashire’s Myerscough College.

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