New Forest National Park Authority receives grant of £539,200 from the Government’s Green Recovery Challenge FundPUBLISHED ON: 28 JULY 2021
- The project will kickstart action to confront the twin climate and nature emergencies with programmes to restore habitats, begin our path towards net zero with nature, and help new and diverse audiences connect with the New Forest.
- 90 nationwide projects awarded grants 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.
- Second funding round of Green Recovery Challenge Fund backed by £40 million, with over 1,000 jobs to be created or retained in England.
- In the New Forest National Park, it brings a £800,000 investment (with match funding), 17 jobs will be created or retained and around 50 local contractors needed.
The New Forest National Park Authority’s scheme ‘Green and blue horizons from city to Forest’ 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.
Across England, 90 nature projects 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.
In the New Forest, the National Park Authority will work alongside the Countryside Education Trust, the Freshwater Habitats Trust, Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, and the New Forest Commoners Defence Association to deliver the project over 18 months, starting in September 2021.
The Authority and its partners will work with farmers, landowners, communities and volunteers to extend nature networks and create wildlife-rich corridors that link National Park habitats to neighbouring towns and cities. Areas of grassland, woodland, hedgerows, streams and ponds will be improved, bringing with it numerous opportunities for people to understand, value and help to care for the landscape. Across the project, 17 jobs will be created or retained and around 50 local contractors will be needed to help support nature improvements.
To coincide with the new Fort Climate Centre in Beaulieu, due to be completed later this year, the Countryside Education Trust will be developing opportunities for people to learn all about climate change and its impact on the New Forest and beyond.
One of the main beneficiaries of the New Forest grant is the Freshwater Habitats Trust. Its Wilder for Water project raises awareness of the special qualities of the New Forest waterscape and to champion a best practice ‘clean water standard’ for camping and recreation.
Dr Naomi Ewald of the Freshwater Habitats Trust said: ‘This is fantastic news for the conservation of the New Forest’s freshwater and coastal habitats. The funding will help us to build a skilled team of professionals and volunteers within the New Forest National Park who are dedicated to protecting arguably one of the best Important Freshwater Areas in the UK – critical for freshwater biodiversity and home to many rare plant and animal species. Our vision is to work with partners and landowners to extend the area of top quality habitats, building out from the heart of the open Forest, and raise awareness of the importance this exceptional landscape with communities and visitors.’
Prof. Gavin Parker, Chair of the New Forest National Park Authority, said: ‘Green Recovery scheme funding is a great boost for the New Forest and will help with the recovery of nature and people. The award enables the National Park Authority to extend wildlife corridors, aid climate resilience, connect people with nature and help create green jobs.’
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. The Government’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund was developed by Defra and its Arm’s-Length Bodies. The fund is being delivered by The National Lottery Heritage Fund in partnership with Natural England, the Environment Agency and Forestry Commission.
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 in England, 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.’
A full list of awards is available to view at: https://www.heritagefund.org.uk/publications/green-recovery-challenge-fund-second-round-decisions-july-2021
More information on ‘Green and blue horizons from city to Forest’ can be seen at: www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/horizons
Notes to editors
The Government’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund was developed by Defra and its Arm’s-Length Bodies. It is being delivered by The National Lottery Heritage Fund in partnership with Natural England, the Environment Agency and Forestry Commission.
About The National Lottery Heritage Fund
Using money raised by the National Lottery, we Inspire, lead and resource the UK’s heritage to create positive and lasting change for people and communities, now and in the future. www.heritagefund.org.uk
Main photo by Nick Lucas