• Habitat creation, improved public access and education at nature reserves within Herefordshire’s Lugg Valley Wetlands: Bodenham Lake and Oak Tree Wetland.
  • New staff to join Herefordshire Wildlife Trust to support wildlife-friendly farming, wildlife monitoring, data collation and habitat surveying.
  • 90 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

Herefordshire Wildlife Trusthas 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. 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 grant awarded to Herefordshire Wildlife Trust will support a number of projects which all contribute to nature’s recovery across the county and will run until 2023.

The Trust will extend its surveying and monitoring of wildlife and wildlife habitats and landscapes across the county to help us better understand how and where to make improvements for wildlife. We will recruit a Nature Recovery Network Officer and a Nature Monitoring and Data Co-ordinator who will also be supported by two trainees. One key area of work will be to map and support and improve places designated as ‘Local Wildlife Sites’, wildlife-rich habitats, usually in private ownership. Working with project partners ‘Herefordshire Meadows’ new sites will be surveyed and supported through management plans across the county Landowners may often be unaware of these special places and we want to help them to manage their sites for wildlife.

The funding also allows the Trust to continue and extend our work with landowners, supporting work along the Yazor Brook in Hereford and funding a Farm Advisor who can support farmers to make their farms more wildlife friendly and sustainable, helping them to access grants and expertise.

On its own sites, the Trust will use the grant to create and restore wildlife habitats and improve public access to two key sites within the Lugg Valley Wetlands: Bodenham Lake and Oak Tree Wetland. At Oak Tree Wetland, purchased by Herefordshire Wildlife Trust in 2020 thanks to a public appeal, the site will be restored to a wildlife wetland with ponds, reedbed and floodplain meadows and bird hides and access paths installed. At Bodenham Lake, where a habitat creation project has just been completed, the nature reserve will be made more accessible with new paths and bird hide.

Herefordshire Wildlife Trust’s Conservation Senior Manager Andrew Nixon said:

“This support from theGreen Recovery Challenge Fund means that we can take a huge step towards a Nature Recovery Network for Herefordshire, gathering and coordinating data on our wildlife and landscapes then restoring and connecting all our special wildlife sites so that nature can thrive across the county. Working with our project partners Herefordshire Meadows we will be restoring wildflower meadows, river valley wetlands and woodlands as well as urban spaces.”

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 greenspaces, 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-fund-second-round-decisions-july-2021