CARNIVOROUS plants in Oxfordshire’s ponds are one species set to snap up a huge funding boost.

Oxford charity Pond Conservation has received initial support for a £965,000 bid from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

The charity wants to fund a nationwide project preserving species such as the carnivorous bladderwort, reducing pond pollution and gathering data about pond life across the UK.

Charity director Jeremy Biggs said: “We are absolutely thrilled that HLF has agreed to support the development of the People, Ponds and Water programme.

“We have received the initial support but once you have that, 90 per cent of projects get through.”

The programme has three aims.

First, it will identify the UK’s 500 most important “flagship ponds”.

Mr Biggs said: “These are the crème de la crème of Britain’s freshwater habitats, jewels in the landscape making a unique contribution to Britain’s wildlife.”

In Oxfordshire, the charity has already identified several flagship ponds.

Pinkhill Meadow at Farmoor Reservoir has about 50 ponds that were created by Pond Conservation. They are now among the 20 per cent of ponds in the UK which are unpolluted. Oxfordshire’s other flagship ponds are in Otmoor, Little Wittenham and Fringford near Bicester.

Local conservation groups will be asked to help monitor these ponds’ populations.

The second aim is to create a national species survey of all UK ponds called PondNet, training people to monitor species and upload sightings to a website.

The third aim will be to carry out a national pond pollution survey, run in collaboration with environmental education charity the Field Studies Council.

HLF has already awarded Pond Conservation £64,000 to develop its project, and the charity will find out next year whether it has earned the full £965,000.

The money will pay for five new regional project officers across the UK, along with equipment to test for pollution.