28th July 2021 – Somerset Wildlife Trust is pleased to announce that it has been awarded two grants from the Green Recovery Challenge Fund.
- The grants will support the Trust’s Avalon Marshes Wetland Wonderland project in partnership with the RSPB, which will improve and restore wetland habitats for wildlife and people, and its Out of the Ashes project which will address Ash Dieback on a number of its most affected nature reserves, and put in place plans to strengthen habitats and improve the resilience of our woodlands.
- 90 projects nationally have been 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
Two Somerset Wildlife Trust-led projects, Avalon Marshes Wetland Wonderland and Out of the Ashes, have been awarded grants 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.
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.
The Avalon Marshes Wetland Wonderland project – a partner project led by Somerset Wildlife Trust working with one of its Avalon Marshes Partners, the RSPB - is receiving £906,700 to improve wetland habitats, water quality and hydrological connectivity on a number of nature reserves, which will benefit a whole range of wildlife including waders, wildfowl, eels, rare insects alongside wetland specialist plants. The project will also begin to restore a 10.6 acre site previously used for peat extraction. With a new hide, onsite and digital interpretation, trails and citizen science events, the Trust and RSPB will work to remove barriers and seek to engage a wider, more diverse audience with nature.
The Trust has also been awarded £242,500 for its Out of the Ashes project which will help it to tackle the management of Ash Dieback and ecological restoration across 300 hectares of diseased woodland within seven of its worst affected nature reserves in the Mendip and Polden Hills. Ash Dieback is a major and costly issue for the Trust and Somerset’s woodlands, as large numbers of trees have advanced disease and require removal by specialists due to the risk they pose to the public. The Trust has in the last year undertaken significant work to remove unsafe tree and this grant will support further urgent work planned.
Georgia Stokes, CEO of Somerset, Wildlife Trust comments, “There’s never been a more important time to put funding for nature at the top of the priority list. The pace and scale at which we are seeing biodiversity loss is unprecedented and climate change is the final ingredient for a perfect storm ahead. We have to address these challenges head on and bring more people on board to take action for nature. These grants will enable us to do both and make a real and lasting difference to the future resilience of some of most treasured landscapes here in Somerset.”
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, 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-f…
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
About Somerset Wildlife Trust
Somerset Wildlife Trust is a nature conservation charity. Its purpose is to restore and protect the populations of species across the county and the habitats they call home. Climate change is one of the greatest threats to nature, natural habitats and the ecosystems that support our life on earth. Our aims are to help address both the ecological and climate crises and put nature back into people’s lives.
Nature reserves and protected sites on their own are not enough. In order to reverse the decline in species’ diversity and abundance, and create resilient landscapes and habitats for wildlife and for people that can adapt to climate change, we need to:
- Encourage and support landowners to manage their land positively for nature and create more space for nature.
- Connect wildlife-rich spaces across the wider landscape to create a robust Nature Recovery Network for Somerset.
- Create a movement of people – at least 1 in 4 – that take action for nature’s recovery across Somerset as part of Team Wilder.
This is at the core of our new 10-year strategy. Nationally the Wildlife Trusts are calling for at least 30% of land to be managed positively for nature by 2030. What we do in Somerset must contribute to that national ambition.
You can read our full 10 year strategy, Wilder Somerset here.