Norfolk Wildlife Trust has been awarded a grant of £244,400 for an innovative landscape-scale conservation project in south Norfolk.
The grant is from the Government’s second round of the Green Recovery Challenge Fund, a multi-million pound boost for green jobs and nature recovery. Ninety nature projects across England have been awarded grants from £68,100 to £1,950,000 to accelerate the implementation of nature-based projects, from new ‘insect pathways’ in our countryside and towns, to tree planting projects in deprived urban areas.
“Norfolk Claylands: Wilder Connections” will enable the Trust to support local communities and landowners in creating a Nature Recovery Network across this area of south Norfolk by reinstating the ‘fabric’ of the wider countryside: the ponds, hedges, trees, margins and grasslands on which wildlife depends.
During this 18 month project, NWT will work with Norfolk FWAG, the Norfolk Ponds Partnership and Norfolk County Council to raise awareness of the importance of creating and connecting wildlife habitats, and actively work with communities to create and restore habitats on local sites. NWT will also support volunteers undertaking wildlife monitoring.
Combining the latest habitat connectivity mapping and best practice management advice, NWT will help create a connected Claylands: in which areas such as farms, parks and school grounds are all once again healthy habitat for both wildlife and people, and where these sites are better connected, enabling wildlife to thrive and spread.
The Green Recovery Challenge Fund is a key part of the Prime Minister’s 10 Point Plan to kick-start nature recovery and tackle climate change. Connecting people with nature is another priority theme: by increasing access to nature and green spaces, projects will support both physical and mental wellbeing.
This is the second grant awarded to Norfolk Wildlife Trust from the Green Recovery Challenge Fund. NWT received £166,600 in the first round
last year to support the creation of seven new jobs, developing future conservation professionals to work across the county on habitat management, wildlife monitoring, protecting county wildlife sites and enhancing public awareness of nature.
Interim Chief Executive of Norfolk Wildlife Trust, Kevin Hart said:
“We are absolutely delighted to receive this second investment from the Green Recovery Challenge Fund to help us to do more for nature across Norfolk. The South Norfolk Claylands is an intensively farmed landscape, but one that retains notable relict habitat. In the biodiversity and climate crises, nature reserves are simply no longer enough. We need a landscape which is healthy, self-regulating and connected, for wildlife to live in and to move through.
“Working with partners, landowners and communities, we can deliver nature conservation at a landscape scale, creating and protecting wildlife-rich, thriving and sustainably managed habitat for the future.”
Environment Minister, Rebecca Pow, said:
“The diverse and ambitious projects being awarded funding today will help environmental organisations employ more people to work on tree-planting, nature restoration and crucially, help more of the public to access and enjoy the outdoors.
“Through our £80 million Fund, we are on track to support over 2,500 jobs, plant almost a million trees and increase nature recovery at a huge scale across the country, which will help us deliver against our 25 Year Environment Plan.”
Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive, National Lottery Heritage Fund, said:
“From wetland restoration, to creating wildlife-rich habitat for bees, it is vital that we value, protect and rebuild our natural heritage. This new funding will not only allow projects to carry out direct conservation which is essential in protecting our biodiversity, but it will increase awareness of how and why we need to change our behaviours in order to protect our future.”
Emma Howard Boyd, Chair of the Environment Agency, said:
“By supporting jobs from Northumberland to Somerset, the Green Recovery Challenge Fund will help deliver a nature positive future. The fund supports young people to develop skills needed to protect nature, build back greener and prepare for climate impacts, like floods and heatwaves.”
Natural England Chair Tony Juniper said:
“Our environmental and conservation charity sector does an incredible job in protecting, improving and restoring the natural environment for the benefit of communities and the economy.”
Forestry Commission Chair Sir William Worsley said:
“This funding will help deliver thousands more trees and help us achieve our target of trebling tree planting rates in England by the end of the Parliament. We need to work towards net zero emissions by 2050; to address biodiversity loss; to better connect people with nature; and to create more green jobs in doing so. Trees are central to this and the projects being awarded these grants will have a hugely important role in helping us realise these objectives.”