The North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), the Chilterns Conservation Board and Railway Action Group (RAG) are delighted to announce that the Rail Corridor Enhancement Programme is now underway with the appointment of Programme Manager, Joanna Watson.
Jo is an experienced project manager, who has delivered many publicly funded projects and previously worked for Natural England, the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and the National Lottery Heritage Fund. Jo also lives within the programme area and says: “I am very excited to be working on a project that will deliver lasting change to the area that I live in”.
The Rail Corridor Enhancement Programme aims to enhance the outstanding landscapes between the Chilterns AONB and the North Wessex Downs AONB, ensuring it is enriched for wildlife, local communities and visitors, and helps to heal and soften the scars left by electrification of the Great Western Main Line.
This 3.75-million-pound project is a partnership between the Chilterns Conservation Board, the North Wessex Downs AONB and the Railway Action Group, and is funded by Network Rail. The Programme will focus on the 12 mile stretch of line between Reading and Didcot, where it runs through both the Chilterns and North Wessex Downs Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs).
Work will include planting of trees and screening vegetation to reduce the visual impact of the electrification infrastructure, as well as projects that will enhance and strengthen the fabric of the landscape and its wildlife, scenic, historic and amenity value within the wider corridor of the electrification works.
The partners are currently in the process of planning specific projects within the overall programme such that the funds are used optimally.
Keep up to date with the latest on this programme on its dedicated webpage at: https://www.chilternsaonb.org/mend-the-gap.html