Wildlife charities raise £8m for nature recovery scheme

The Wildlife Trusts has raised almost £8m just six months after launching its 30 by 30 ambition to kickstart nature’s recovery across 30% of land by 2030.

Funds will buy land to provide new homes for wildlife and allow nature to thrive in increasing abundance across wilder, joined-up places. The plan is to reverse decades of steep wildlife decline and threat to the natural world.

The Wildlife Trusts coalition has over the past year unveiled 10 new projects, which also include restoring arable fields to heathland, improving wildflower meadows and quadrupling the size of a nature reserve to help a rare butterfly.

According to a frightful report State of the UK’s Woods and Trees by The Woodland Trust, wildlife is struggling in the face of the poor condition of most woods, with many lacking in the variety of trees, deadwood and open spaces that are needed for them to be healthy.

A devasting 93% of the country’s woods are not in good ecological condition and woodland birds and butterflies that live there have seen sharp declines.

Despite the government plans to plant 30,000 hectares of trees a year by 2025, The Woodland Trust has asked for legally binding targets to help ensure nature recovery.

The Wildlife Trusts chief executive, Craig Bennett, said: “Just protecting the nature we have left is not enough; we need to put nature into recovery, and to do so at scale and with urgency.

“We need to transform nature-poor areas into new nature-rich places – and change the way we think about land, looking for opportunities to help nature outside traditional nature reserves.”

The Wildlife Trusts’ new schemes are additions to a growing list of nature recovery projects that will put new land aside for nature as well as help repair areas for wildlife.

The aim is to bring nature everywhere, including to the places where people live.

The new scheme includes:

  • Restoring 95 acres arable fields back to heathland for nature in Worcestershire
  • Breathing life into 20 urban nature areas to benefit people and wildlife, Tyne & Wear
  • Improving 30 acres historic northern hay meadows for wildflowers in Cumbria
  • Buying 12 fabulous acres of unsprayed fields for yellow mountain pansy, Shropshire
  • Securing a future for 14 acres of rare wildflower meadows in Herefordshire
  • Transforming 42-acre ex-golf course in Carlisle into an urban bee and butterfly oasis
  • Reviving ice-age ponds and expanding heathland across 140 acres, Norfolk
  • Quadrupling a nature reserve to help the rare marsh fritillary butterfly, Wiltshire
  • Piloting eco-friendly ‘Naturehoods’ by creating habitats in Lincolnshire communities
  • Managing traditional Rhos pasture for butterfly conservation, Radnorshire

The attempt to reverse decline over recent decades is backed by the broadcaster and naturalist Sir David Attenborough, who said: “If given a chance, nature is capable of extraordinary recovery.

“The Wildlife Trusts’ campaign to secure 30% of our land and sea for nature’s recovery by 2030 offers us the vision and level of ambition that is urgently needed to reverse the loss of nature, and so improve all our lives.

“It’s tempting to assume that the loss of wildlife and wild places is a problem that’s happening on the other side of the world. The truth is that the UK is one of the most nature-depleted countries on the planet and the situation is getting worse.”


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