A YORK nature reserve has been handed a grant to help clean up a nature corridor.

First TransPennine Express has teamed up with the Forestry Commission to donate more than £20,000 towards tree and woodland conservation projects including a grant of £2,796 to St Nicks, who will use the funding to manage the Foss Islands Greenway, a 2.5-mile long traffic-free path used by pedestrians and cyclists, by maximising biodiversity and transforming a green corridor.

Jonathan Dent, Nature Reserve Manager, said: "The funds from the FTPE grant will enable great potential for the greenway and will develop the skills of our local community volunteer groups through practical training sessions ahead of the work taking place. The project will have several impacts on the community and environment and we are passionate about growing communities, seeking opportunities to educate and improve."

St Nicks started as Friends of St Nicholas Fields in the 1990s by transforming a former landfill site into a thriving local nature reserve on Rawdon Avenue.

Mr Dent said maintaining grassland areas, increasing the yield of fruit trees, increasing the presence of volunteers on the greenway and restoring water voles' habitats are just some of the things they hope to achieve through the Green Grant.

FTPE has been helping improve the environment and encourage the growth of wildlife in the North of England and into Scotland since 2007. The competition is open annually to community groups, charities, allotment associations, schools and other individuals who allow open access to their land.

Applicants could apply for up to £3,000 in green grants for environmental projects. The donations form part of FTPE's long-term £124,000 commitment to providing and protecting green areas on and around FTPE routes.

Peter Roberts, Environmental and Safety Information Manager at First TransPennine Express, said: "Local communities, our passengers and our employees have benefitted from the many environmental improvement projects as a result of the Green Grants scheme.

"Working with the Forestry Commission has built up a foundation of shared interests for the development of our environment and we look forward to seeing what will come from this year's grants."

A select team of judges, comprised of FTPE and Forestry Commission representatives, carefully considered each application. Factors to be taken into account will be the involvement with and impact on the local community, as well as the overall positive environmental impact and proximity to FTPE stations.