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Government announces cash for 68 green projects

Words: Laura Edgar
Tree planting / Shutterstock_580933222

The government has announced that projects in England seeking to protect landscapes and retain thousands of green jobs will receive a share of nearly £40 million of funding.

The projects, announced as part of the Green Recovery Challenge Fund, will see more than 800,000 trees planted and habitats such as moorlands, wetlands and forests restored.

Conservation work will be supported through the funding, as well as improved education about the environment.

In November, Prime Minister Boris Johnson set out his £12 billion 10-point plan for a green recovery from Covid-19, which includes the Green Recovery Challenge Fund.

The £40 million is the first round of funding, which will be delivered by the National Lottery Heritage Fund in partnership with Natural England and the Environment Agency.. The second round of funding will open early in 2021.

Environment minister Rebecca Pow said: “These projects will drive forward work across England to restore and transform our landscapes, boost nature and create green jobs, and will be a vital part of helping us to build back greener from coronavirus.

“I look forward to working with environmental organisations as these projects develop and help address the twin challenges of biodiversity loss and climate change, while creating and retaining jobs as part of the green recovery.”

Ros Kerslake, chief executive at the National Lottery Heritage Fund, added: “Supporting our natural environment is one of the most valuable things we can do right now. All these projects are of huge benefit to our beautiful countryside and wildlife, but will also support jobs, health and wellbeing, which are vitally important as we begin to emerge from the Covid-19 crisis.”

Of the projects, 21 projects will receive the larger grants (£250,000 to £5 million) and 47 projects will be awarded smaller grants, ranging from £50,000 to £250,000).

The winning projects

  • The Woodland Trust and National Trust are being awarded £3,860,200 to restore ancient woodlands and trees in 63 landscapes across England. The funding will also go towards helping to increase skills and capacity within the wider forestry and conservation sectors and to reinvigorate UK timber markets.
  • A partnership led by the Youth Hostel Association (YHA) in England and Wales will receive £2,543,600. It seeks to connect young people to nature and build a new workforce for the green recovery, targeting young people from deprived areas through virtual, field or class-based learning, day and residential trips, citizen science programme and volunteering with experienced environmental tutors across 200 diverse natural heritage sites, such as conservation areas, AONBs, national parks and more.
  • The Centre for Sustainable Healthcare has been awarded £580,400 to improve access to green spaces at NHS sites across England, including by planting 10,000 trees at 50-plus NHS sites, and providing outdoor ecotherapy sessions and refurbishing a garden for a chemotherapy suite, which will allow patients to have treatment outside.
  • The Conservation Education & Research Trust will receive £249,900 to help to plant 12 ‘tiny forests’ (the size of a tennis court) in urban areas across England.
  • The Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust’s Owl Box Initiative is being awarded a grant of £123,700 to work with 100 farms and supply communities with barn owl boxes, monitoring their success and involving farming families in this process.

Woodland Trust CEO Dr Darren Moorcroft said: “This is a great stimulus package for both the environment and the economy. Green recovery begins with sustaining and nurturing the best of what we have. Ancient trees and woods are the Westminster Abbeys of our terrestrial habitats and are culturally resonant landmarks – restoring them will be a cornerstone in wider landscape renewal and nature recovery.

“We and our friends at the National Trust will deliver and demonstrate renewal on our own land and support it beyond those boundaries, restoring damaged woods and conserving our neglected ancient trees. By training and mentoring staff and volunteers, and reaching out to contractors, land managers and students, we will increase skills and capacity within the wider forestry and conservation sectors for a future of more ecologically diverse and economically sustainable broadleaved woods.

“Ancient woods and trees are invaluable for nature conservation and restoration offering a range of nature-based solutions, such as carbon sinks, and they deepen people’s connection with nature. This programme will deliver on all themes of the Green Recovery Challenge Fund and we are delighted to have been awarded this funding.”

Image credit | Shutterstock