Cornwall has been chosen by the government to help kickstart the recovery of wildlife and nature across England

Cornwall has been chosen by the government to help kickstart the recovery of wildlife and nature across England.

Cornwall Council will receive a share of a £1m fund to launch a Local Nature Recovery Strategy to map the most valuable sites for wildlife and identify areas where nature can be restored.

This could see the creation of more wildflower habitats for pollinators, additional green amenity spaces for residents and new woodlands, building on the Council’s ambitious plans to plant the 8,000-hectare Forest for Cornwall over the next decade.

For my 60th birthday I donated 3 Cornish apple trees to the orchard at County Hall

The pilot will sit alongside the authority’s ground-breaking climate change action plan to help Cornwall work towards becoming carbon neutral by 2030, ensuring that the recovery of nature is prioritised alongside efforts to reduce impact on the climate.

It will also help deliver the Council’s commitments in the Cornwall Environmental Growth Strategy.

Cornwall's Environmental Growth Strategy

Cornwall Council will lead one of five pilot projects across the country that will underpin the Nature Recovery Network – a flagship element of the government’s 25 Year Environment Plan. The Nature Recovery Network  will benefit people and wildlife by increasing, improving and joining-up wildlife-rich sites across England.

Other pilots will be led by Buckinghamshire Unitary Authority, Northumberland Unitary Authority, Greater Manchester Combined Authority and Cumbria County Council who will be working to support natural flood management, access to green space, tree planting and peat restoration.

While five areas will drive the first pilots, the forthcoming Environment Bill will go even further – requiring all areas in England to establish Local Nature Recovery Strategies. They will help bring a broad range of groups together – from farmers to businesses to local communities – to deliver priorities for nature recovery at a local and national level and the pilots will help kick-start the creation of over a million acres of habitats for wildlife. This approach will have collaboration at its heart, with solutions coming from partners across Cornwall.

Environment Minister Rebecca Pow said: “Coronavirus is shining a light on the importance of our natural world, and the positive impact nature can have on our health and well-being.

“These first pilots will be a key part of our green recovery and help kick-start the creation of over a million acres of joined up habitats that people can enjoy across the country.”

Natural England Chair Tony Juniper said: “If we wish to have rich and abundant wildlife, more carbon captured in trees, soil and hedges, better protection from extreme weather and enough places for people to gain the wellbeing benefits of good quality green spaces, then we must invest in nature’s recovery, and at scale”.

“National ambitions for nature’s recovery will need to support local action and today is a significant milestone in doing just this. We look forward to working with our partners in these five areas to create bigger, better and more connected natural places to halt and then reverse the decline in our environment.”

Edwina Hannaford, Cornwall Council’s portfolio holder for climate change and neighbourhoods, said: “Cornwall’s designation as a Local Nature Recovery Strategy area means we can build on our strong track record of working together with communities to help nature and tackle the climate emergency, as seen in our ambitious Forest for Cornwall programme and our award-winning Making Space for Nature project.

“It will enable us to strengthen local partnerships as we continue our work in restoring nature, reducing carbon emissions and protecting and improving the environment for our residents.

“Working in partnership with a range of organisations such as the Cornwall and Tamar Valley AONBs and utilising the strategic leadership of the Local Nature Partnership, we will build on the tremendous work that has already been undertaken in Cornwall to ensure that the recovery of our natural environments goes hand in hand with our efforts to support our economy and communities in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We see this pilot as a stepping stone towards a greater appreciation of our natural places, reversing the decline in nature that has impacted on Cornwall, the UK and the world over many decades and placing the health and wealth of our environment on the same footing as economic and social wellbeing.”

Natural England’s area manager, Wesley Smyth said: “The inclusion of Cornwall as one of the Local Nature Reserve Strategy pilot sites is a fantastic reflection of the environmental leadership shown by Cornwall Council’s and the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Nature Partnership (LNP).  This pilot will build on Cornwall’s pioneering approach to introducing biodiversity Net Gain, to initiating a land use planning approach in meeting the challenges of climate change and in understanding the contribution nature recovery makes to a healthy environment on which Cornwall’s economy and the health of its communities depend.”

Building with Nature Logo, a scheme Cornwall is committed to