DEFRA reveals winners of £40m nature funding package

Almost a million trees will be planted and hundreds of jobs supported through the second tranche of the Green Recovery Challenge Fund, according to DEFRA.

The funding will see hundreds of thousands of trees planted. Photograph: Trees for Cities The funding will see hundreds of thousands of trees planted. Photograph: Trees for Cities

The £40m pot will be split between 90 projects and 600 sites, from the north of Northumberland to the tip of Cornwall, says the department, ranging from wetland restoration on the river Avon to a ten-kilometre wildlife corridor in Cheshire. It will also contribute to meeting the government’s objective of tripling tree planting by the end of the current parliament.

The largest shares have gone to the National Trust and the RSPB,,who have been  awarded just under £2m and £1.8m respectively for work on upland landscapes and habitat restoration along the river Thames. The Avon Wildlife Trust, Canal & River Trust, Community Forest Trust, Trees for Cities, Plymouth City Council, the Tees Rivers Charitable Trust and Groundwork Greater Manchester, all secured more than £1m.

  • The winning projects include:
  • Urban Green Newcastle and Northumberland Wildlife Trust’s ‘Bringing the Buzz Back to the City’ project, awarded £697,800 to create a network of 45 nectar-rich public sites, aiming to plant 2,500 trees, 25,000 bulbs and create 18 hectares of grassland. The work will target young people, with traineeships available including for young offenders, alongside volunteering, and schools work opportunities.
  • A £13m grant to Trees for Cities to increase tree cover in deprived urban areas. 55,000 trees will be planted across 83 coastal locations in 7 coastal towns. The project will also increase skills and training opportunities for young people.
  • In partnership with the RSPB, Somerset Wildlife Trust has received over £900,000 to support the ‘Avalon Marshes Wetland Wonderland’ project to improve wetland habitats, water quality and hydrological connectivity of nature reserves. The scheme will benefit wildlife such as wading birds, wildfowl, eels and rare insects, alongside wetland specialist plants. The project will also begin to restore a 10.6 acre site previously used for peat extraction and build a new bird hide and public trails.
  • £1.3m for the Community Forest Trust’s ‘More from Trees’ project along the river Mersey, creating new green corridors in the centre of Liverpool, a specialist tree nursery for native species, and natural flood management in two Cheshire catchments. It will be staffed by retrained military veterans.
  • Chester Zoo has won just under £1m to create a 10km nature recovery corridor, covering restoration of wetlands, traditional orchards, hedgerows, grasslands and wildflower meadows along local wildlife sites. The project will also address inequality in access to nature and provide opportunities for youth trainees and community volunteer schemes.

The announcement follows the first round of funding, provided in December, to 69 nature projects around England. It is being delivered by the National Lottery’s Heritage Fund, working alongside Natural England, the Environment Agency and the Forestry Commission.

Speaking from B-Lines, a Buglife project which has been awarded just over £170,000, 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.”

Tony Juniper, chair of biodiversity regulator Natural England, 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. Having begun my environmental career back in 1984 working on a government-funded project comparable to those being announced today, I know from experience how this fund will be able to help a new generation of passionate young environmentalists take the first few steps in their careers. I can think of fewer more important investments in our future than that.

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