April 23, 2021

Wildlife charities raise £8m to boost nature schemes across England and Wales

Efforts to reverse decline include transforming an ex-golf course and rewilding a village

Projects to transform a former golf course for nature, rewild a village and restore ice age “ghost” ponds are among schemes being launched to boost wildlife across England and Wales.

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.

The trusts have raised almost £8m since launching a campaign to help nature recover across 30% of land by 2030 six months ago, including £900,000 from the public.

The attempt to reverse declines 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.”

Attenborough warned: “We are facing a global extinction crisis which has implications for every one of us. 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.”

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 new projects by the coalition of wildlife groups, some of which are still fundraising to help them deliver the schemes, are: