WWT receives Government Green Recovery Challenge Fun grant for Gloucestershire
By Sophie Ladd | 28th July 2021
The Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust's Flourishing Floodplains project has been awarded a grant from the Government's £40 million second round of the Green Recovery Challenge Fund, a multi-million pound boost for green jobs and nature recovery.
The Flourishing Floodplains project will restore threatened wetland habitats across a 6,400ha landscape in the Severn & Avon Vales, helping to increase biodiversity, improve soil and water quality, and combat climate change. It will also support the recovery of two rapidly declining species - the Eurasian curlew and European eel - by promoting a transition to wildlife-friendly farming and building the evidence to inform future action.
By working with farmers and landowners to manage the newly restored wetland habitats, and connecting local people with the floodplain landscape through volunteering and citizen science, the project will create a network of "floodplain champions" with the knowledge and skills to continue this work in future.
The project will be delivered in partnership with Farming & Wildlife Advisory Group South West and the Floodplain Meadows Partnership led by the Open University.
Ninety nature projects across England have been awarded grants from £68,100 to £1,950,000 to create and retain over 1,000 green jobs, backed by the Government's £80 million Green Recovery Challenge Fund.
Work will be carried out on over 600 sites from North Northumberland to the tip of Cornwall, and combined with the first round, almost a million trees will be planted, contributing towards the Government's commitment to treble tree planting rates across England by the end of this Parliament.
WWT's head of UK programmes, Rob Shore, said: "We are delighted to have been awarded this generous grant for our work to preserve and celebrate the rich natural heritage of the Severn & Avon Vales, where WWT was founded 75 years ago.
"Through our partnership, we will restore a wetland landscape that brings multiple benefits, from wildlife recovery to flood protection and carbon storage. We will also develop local skills in regenerative farming and floodplain restoration, and use two much-loved species as flagships to inspire local action for conservation, helping to secure the future of this unique landscape for generations to come."
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."
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."
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