THE Moorland Association has appointed its first director.

Amanda Anderson, a 42-year-old mother of two, will look after some of the earth’s most fragile landscapes – and the £67m English grouse shooting industry.

The association was formed by moorland owners 29 years ago and protects more than 850,000 acres of globally recognised heather moorland.

Mrs Anderson, of Austwick, near Lancaster, will shadow founding secretary Martin Gillibrand until his retirement in May.

She has spent the past 14 years looking after the association’s communications through her own company, Anderson PR Ltd.

She 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.”

Robert Benson, MA chairman, welcomed the appointment. He said: “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.”

Mrs Anderson has always been passionate about the organisation and its aims. She said: “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.”

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.”

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

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, an honours degree in zoology, and 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 Myerscough College.