- Vital new step towards a nationwide Nature Recovery Network
- Government pledges an initial £700,000 funding to boost Cornish nature partnership project
Natural England and Cornwall Wildlife Trust have today (Wednesday 9 June) announced that they have secured government support for a G7 nature recovery legacy project in Cornwall, which aims to knit together the precious habitats across the region as part of an England wide Nature Recovery Network.
The G7 nature recovery project plans to connect nature reserves, such as Goss Moor National Nature Reserve and a suite of Cornwall Wildlife Trust reserves, to Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs), the Cornwall Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), the Cornwall Mining World Heritage Sites, the coast and the Fal estuary across the china clay pits to the World Heritage Site at Luxulyan Valley. The project – expected to take five years to complete depending on future funding – will deliver for nature, for climate and for people, and will contribute to the UK’s target to legally protect and improve 30 per cent of land for nature by 2030.
Natural England, Cornwall Wildlife Trust and Defra in partnership with others are aiming for the G7 Summit project to deliver a lasting legacy for nature and people by:
- Restoring land through nature recovery and recreating scarce habitats through sustainable farming. Natural regeneration will be used to create scrub and woodland communities; scarce habitats such as heathland and wetland will be created, as well as the development of meadows and pasture, and the restoration of peat mires in the River Fal headwaters.
- Providing opportunities to reintroduce lost species and improving resilience for key species including dormice, marsh fritillary butterflies, and willow tit.
- Sequestrating approx. 440,000 tonnes of CO2 through forest growth and wetland restoration, including peat habitats, improved soil condition and the recovery of marine blue carbon habitats.
- Improving water quality, encouraging fish diversity and abundance, and reducing flood peaks to reduce downstream flooding.
- Improving access to green space and green social prescribing so people across the county can enjoy the wellbeing benefits of contact with nature.
To enable transformation at this scale, the programme will employ skilled staff, develop a green jobs apprenticeship scheme and involve extensive community engagement to kickstart the development of nature’s recovery in Cornwall.
It is hoped that once the project is complete, it will act as a major driver for future green prosperity in Cornwall through green jobs, sustainable tourism and farming, and a significant contribution to the national Nature Recovery Network as set out in the Environment Bill.
St Austell and Newquay’s Member of Parliament Steve Double has been involved in bringing the project together. He said:
“I am delighted to have worked with a number of agencies to bring forward the Hyreth project for Mid-Cornwall. This is an amazing opportunity that will see the G7 Leaders’ Summit which is taking place this week leave a positive legacy for Cornwall.”
“This project will put Cornwall at the heart of the Government’s plans for a green industrial revolution, including restoring wild landscapes, contributing to the Nature Recovery Network for improving access for cycling and walking and for investing green jobs.”
It will help deliver Cornwall’s emerging local nature recovery strategy and also work with the business and tourism sector to identify new business opportunities that nature recovery will bring, including an apprenticeship programme, investing in our young people, as well as working with health providers to bring forward social prescription offers.”
“Following today’s landmark announcement I look forward to working with all concerned to bring this lasting G7 legacy for Cornwall forward and leave where we live a better place.”
Environment Secretary, George Eustice, said:
“The focus of government policy is to move towards nature’s recovery. That means doing more than just protecting a dwindling number of remaining sites. It means creating new habitats and making new spaces for nature. I am delighted that Cornwall will now be one of the first areas in the country where we deploy this new thinking with this project around Goss Moor. It involves reclaiming some of the land around the former clay works for nature which is a fitting legacy of G7.”
Natural England Chair, Tony Juniper, said:
“We are very pleased to announce this new G7 nature recovery legacy project in Cornwall. It will reconnect habitats and ecosystems across the region, contributing to the conservation of rare species including Willow Tit, Dormouse and Marsh Fritillary butterfly, and will also offer the potential for the reintroduction of lost species such as the Beaver. The project will also embrace the coastal and marine environment, bringing opportunities the further protection and enhancement of sea, coves, bays and beaches.”
“This project is part of a new phase for conservation in England. With the recovery of Nature now the priority it will be one element in a national Nature Recovery Network that will include large areas of land and sea where ecological processes are being restored, including for carbon capture and improved water quality. It will celebrate and embrace the rich history of this part of England and will be taken forward in ways that seek to increase the value of the improved environment and health for the communities in the area, to the Cornish economy and for the many visitors who will enjoy this vibrant area during the decades ahead”.
Carolyn Cadman, Chief Executive of Cornwall Wildlife Trust, said:
“The beauty of Cornwall’s coasts and countryside often masks the pressures which nature faces here, and this announcement is a welcome step forward. This builds on the nature recovery work which we and many local businesses and partners in the public and voluntary sectors are undertaking. We know that with additional investment and strong environmental laws and protection, Cornwall Wildlife Trust and partners can help deliver bigger, better managed and more joined-up wildlife habitats for nature to thrive. We hope the G7 nature recovery legacy project will also help to attract significant new investment to support urgent efforts across the partnership to tackle climate change and reverse the decline in nature.”
Restoring nature at landscape scale is a key plank of the government’s plans to build back better from coronavirus. The G7 nature recovery legacy project will form part of England’s Nature Recovery Network which is enhancing the quality of our existing areas for nature, restoring and creating new habitats, and linking them together to benefit nature and people in towns and cities and coast and countryside. More, bigger, better and well-connected habitats are central to recovering species and addressing the greatest challenges we face – the climate and biodiversity crises.
Mevagissey and St Austell Bay Cornwall Councillor James Mustoe said:
“This is fantastic news for Cornwall and I am delighted to see among many local areas that will benefit from today’s announcement, our beautiful St Austell Bay recognised for its rich marine ecosystem and included in this project.”
“Having spoken to DEFRA about some of their plans I believe that this will be a tremendous opportunity for our communities and local wildlife groups such as Three Bays Wildlife to work with different organisations to make sure that we get the maximum benefit locally from what is proposed.”
“I thank Steve, the Government and other organisations involved for bringing forward these plans and look forward to being part of the local efforts to realise their potential, along with Cornwall Council and our local community groups.”
Today’s announcement forms part of the Government’s commitments to drive international ambition on action to tackle the biodiversity crisis and work towards nature-based solutions ahead of the G7, the upcoming 15th UN Biodiversity Conference of the Parties (Convention of Biological Diversity COP15), and the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) which will be hosted in Glasgow later this year. In the run up to the summit, the UK is focused on four goals to drive progress: securing global net zero, protecting communities and natural habitats from the impacts of climate change, mobilising finance and working together to accelerate action.