England-Wide Initiative Launches to Restore Nature
A new Nature Recovery Network Delivery Partnership has been launched, led by Natural England, with the aim being to recover nature across the entire country, with representatives coming together from more than 600 organisations to restore protected sites and landscapes, and help deliver at least 500,000 hectares of wildlife-rich habitat.
Partners include Severn Trent Water, Network Rail, Coca-Cola, the Forestry Commission, the Environment Agency, RSPB, National Parks England, Wildlife and Countryside Link and the Council for Sustainable Business.
The new Nature Recovery Network will restore 75 per cent of protected sites to help nature thrive, recover threatened and iconic animal and plant species by creating more habitat and wildlife corridors, support the planting of 180,000 hectares of woodland and deliver benefits such as clean water, flood management, carbon capture, pollination and recreation.
Natural England chair Tony Juniper said: “The natural world upon which we all depend has for far too long been in decline, and now is the moment when we must change our approach, to move beyond preserving what little remains and to embark on restoration at scale.”
The programme will also see new green and blue spaces created and connected, such as wetlands, meadows, ponds, woodlands and peatlands.
This will reintroduce lost features like trees and hedgerows, which will help address the issues of climate change through carbon capture, while improving the quality of air, water and soil, while providing natural flood protection.
The first ever super National Nature Reserve (NNR) was recently created in Dorset, bringing together 11 types of priority habitat, giving rare and varied wildlife such as the silver studded blue butterfly, the Dartford warbler and the sand lizard a better chance of thriving given the current climate crisis.
The Purbeck Heaths NNR covers 8,231 acres in total, similar in size to Blackpool, with the aim being to build resilience into the landscape and help address the decline in natural species, while offering a public benefit and providing greater opportunities to explore Purbeck, improving the health and wellbeing over over 2.5 million visitors each year.
Mr Juniper went on to say that nature recovery is a complicated task and one that can only realistically be achieved through partnerships, necessary to bring together those in charge of land and sea management, as well as different investment sources and the knowledge required to make progress.
The vision is to create a network of places that will benefit people, landscapes and wildlife, an ambitious project but something that is already taking place in different parts of the country, which – as Mr Juniper notes – is hugely encouraging.
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