Thorne, Goole, and Crowle Moors – Peatland Restoration Design Development Part Two

Alex Jones has been asked to present at the That’s LIFE conference, taking place today which coincides with the end of two restoration projects. The projects have a combined budget of £5.2 million, with complementary aims focused on the restoration of the Humberhead Peatlands. Alex has been working on the site since 2009, and the That’s LIFE conference provides an opportunity to reflect on the work achieved by the projects and share knowledge and best practice with others.

JBA Consulting has been tasked over the last 12 years by the consortium of local IDBs to produce and implement a £2.9 million Water Level Management Plan (WLMP) covering Thorne, Goole, and Crowle Moors, England’s largest terrestrial SSSI, whilst Natural England Humberhead Peatlands LIFE+ Project £2.3million focuses on the whole Humberhead Peatlands and continues their restoration work on the National Nature Reserve (NNR).

This is the second of three blogs on the Thorne Goole and Crowle Moors WLMP which will look into JBAs implementation of the plan; focusing on the stakeholder engagement process. The first blog in the series on developing the restoration designs can be found here.

Complex Site

We were tasked with designing and implementing the IDBs restoration plan on third party land. As a result, the plan could not be implemented without significant stakeholder engagement, and support from those stakeholders. This was complicated by the complex nature of the site:

• It lies within three counties; Lincolnshire, South Yorkshire and the East Riding of Yorkshire, and therefore is covered by three local authorities, Doncaster Metropolitan District Council, North Lincolnshire Council and East Riding of Yorkshire.
• The moor is owned by around 22 separate land-owners.
• Six Internal Drainage Boards surround the site.
• It is a SSSI and forms part of a National Nature Reserve (NNR), Special Area of Conservation (SAC) and a Special Protection Area (SPA).
• It is the focus of many local groups such as the Thorne and Hatfield Conservation Forum.

Therefore, implementing a plan across the whole site had to consider the sensitivity of the site, views of a range of stakeholders, and the permission requirements that the complex pattern of administration brought. All while ensuring that the main aim of restoring the moor was achieved.

How was stakeholder engagement achieved

Meeting everyone

We tried to make ourselves available to everyone who wanted to meet us. Members of the team held meetings in offices, on-site, in pubs, and museums. The team also ended up popping round to people’s homes on a Friday night to discuss the best way to mitigate drainage impacts on a garden that backed onto the moor.

Site experience

Darren Whitaker was our Thorne Moors WLMP project officer. Darren had been a Natural England reserve manager on the moor between 2001 and 2009. Darren’s local knowledge of the site and those who worked in and around it, allowed JBA’s work to slot in easily with others.


We led and supported a number of events throughout the project. For example, Kieran Sheehan, the project manager, led a joint JBA and British Ecological Society Sphagnum Identification workshop on the moor, which was very well attended, leading to some cramped conditions in the minibus.

Environmental Impact Assessment

We used the process of producing a Land Drainage Improvement Works Environmental Statement (ES) to formalise the consultation process that was undertaken. Scoping the EIA was a two-stage process and involved in depth discussions with North Lincolnshire Council, Natural England, Environment Agency, and the Thorne and Hatfield Conservation Forum to identify the initial requirements of the scoping report. As all stakeholders had been involved in early consultation to identify the requirements of the scoping report, producing the final report was a streamlined process.
The process of producing the EIA involved members of the Thorne and Hatfield Conservation Forum undertaking a number of ecological surveys. The assessments were improved by their in-depth knowledge, and helped to allow mitigation measures to be jointly developed.

The final ES, collated all the mitigation requirements for implementing the scheme, including flood risk, ecology, landscape, and archaeological and cultural heritage, in one document. The process of involving groups in setting its scope and informing the assessments, improved its robustness and increased confidence that the implementation of the plan would be successful.


Over the last 12 years, stakeholder consultation required significant personal effort by the members of the team, however the scheme was significantly improved by the whole process.

Want to know more?

Email Alex Jones for more information on wetland restoration. You can also speak to Alex in person at the Restoring England’s largest lowland peat mire – LIFE and Beyond conference on 15 May.

Visit our environmental services web pages to find out more about the many ways we can help you on your projects.

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