A PROJECT to save a rare Burnley songbird has won through to the finals of a national environmental competition, it has been announced.

Supporters of the Watershed Landscape Project, which is transforming the South Pennines between Burnley and West Yorkshire, have triumped in the semi-finals of the National Lottery Awards 2012.

Their bid won enough votes in a TV poll, in the environmental category, to secure a spot in the final.

One key aim of the initiative is to restore the habitat of the twite, otherwise known as the Pennine finch, which is on the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds’ (RSPB) at-risk list. Currently there are only around 100 breeding pairs of twites — it used to be native to several counties but now the moors around Worsthorne and Hurstwood are one of the few places ornithologists can spot the tiny creatures.

The winners of the competition will be showcased on BBC TV’s The One Show and also receive a £2,000 grant to aid future work.

Pam Warhurst, Pennine Prospects chairman, said: “Volun- teers are at the core of this project, guiding, inspiring and carrying out landscape restoration so winning an award would recognise their toil and passion for the uplands at the highest level.”

Landowners across the moors have become involved in the fight to save the twite, with the RSPB working with nearly 40, across 75 hectares.

The introduction of more traditional hay meadows, with dandelions and wild seeds, is vital to the twite making a comeback.

Countryside workers have also created a series of storytelling workshops to bring the rugged moorlands to life as part of the £3million project.