Posted: Wed 28th Jul 2021

Chester Zoo is to create a new 10 mile ‘nature recovery corridor’

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Wednesday, Jul 28th, 2021

Chester Zoo is to create a new 10 mile ‘nature recovery corridor’ to restore wetlands, traditional orchards, hedgerows, grasslands and wildflower meadows across Cheshire.

Stretching from Chester to Ellesmere Port, the Nature Recovery Corridor will see Chester Zoo, in collaboration with partners across the region, restoring a network of wildlife-rich habitat and contributing to the recovery of severely declining species in need of urgent help.

Conservation experts say communities will be empowered with the passion, knowledge and skills to make long-lasting improvements to the Cheshire countryside that will flourish for generations to come.

The project will be inclusive, hands on and will provide access to nature for some of the most deprived areas in Cheshire West and Chester, providing opportunities for youth traineeships and a community volunteer programme.

The first phase of the ambitious project, focussed on a 6.5 mile stretch running from the zoo’s nature reserve through Chester city centre to Lache in the south west of the city, has been awarded a £990,500 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.

Dr Simon Dowell, Science Director at Chester Zoo, said:

“Chester Zoo is making transformative change to prevent extinction. Our new Nature Recovery Corridor will empower people to create safe spaces for UK wildlife, through collaboration and action.

“This grant will enable us to create more environmental jobs, demonstrating the value of green recovery in Cheshire, nurture a new generation of conservationists through funded traineeships, and allow wide-ranging local communities to connect with, and enjoy, wildlife.

“As the world faces a biodiversity crisis, the role of large charity zoos like ours in securing a future for wildlife on our planet is ever more vital. With one million species at risk of extinction, including many here in the UK, never has there been a more pressing time to stand together for nature.”

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.

Across the various funded projects, 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 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.”

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