The New Forest National Park Authority has received funding to help tackle climate and nature emergencies.
The authority’s scheme ‘Green and blue horizons from city to Forest’ has been awarded £539,200 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.
The National Park Authority will work alongside the Countryside Education Trust, the Freshwater Habitats Trust, Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, and the New Forest Commoners Defence Association to deliver the project over 18 months, starting in September.
The Authority and its partners will work with farmers, landowners, communities and volunteers to extend nature networks and create wildlife-rich corridors that link National Park habitats to neighbouring towns and cities. Areas of grassland, woodland, hedgerows, streams and ponds will be improved, bringing with it numerous opportunities for people to understand, value and help to care for the landscape. Across the project, 17 jobs will be created or retained and around 50 local contractors will be needed to help support nature improvements.
To coincide with the new Fort Climate Centre in Beaulieu, due to be completed later this year, the Countryside Education Trust will be developing opportunities for people to learn all about climate change and its impact on the New Forest and beyond.
One of the main beneficiaries of the New Forest grant is the Freshwater Habitats Trust. Its Wilder for Water project raises awareness of the special qualities of the New Forest waterscape and to champion a best practice ‘clean water standard’ for camping and recreation.
Dr Naomi Ewald of the Trust said: “This is fantastic news for the conservation of the New Forest’s freshwater and coastal habitats. The funding will help us to build a skilled team of professionals and volunteers within the New Forest National Park who are dedicated to protecting arguably one of the best Important Freshwater Areas in the UK – critical for freshwater biodiversity and home to many rare plant and animal species. Our vision is to work with partners and landowners to extend the area of top quality habitats, building out from the heart of the open Forest, and raise awareness of the importance this exceptional landscape with communities and visitors.”
Prof Gavin Parker, chairman of the New Forest National Park Authority, said: “Green Recovery scheme funding is a great boost for the New Forest and will help with the recovery of nature and people. The award enables the National Park Authority to extend wildlife corridors, aid climate resilience, connect people with nature and help create green jobs.”
The Green Recovery Challenge Fund is a key part of the Prime Minister’s 10 Point Plan to kick-start nature recovery and to tackle climate change.
More information on ‘Green and blue horizons from city to Forest’ can be seen at: www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/horizons
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