Today, a raft of new projects designed to help the UK tackle the climate and nature emergency is announced by The Wildlife Trusts. They focus on employing nature-based solutions to increase carbon storage while restoring habitats on land and at sea.
The 12 schemes across the UK include a pioneering collaboration to improve huge tracts of fragmented wetlands, restoring precious peatland habitats and help forest, planting seagrass habitats, connecting fragmented woodlands and developing saltmarsh restoration.
The projects, which will help the UK achieve its ambition of reaching net zero carbon emissions by 2050, are able to move forward thanks to almost £2 million in funding raised by players of People’s Postcode Lottery.
One of the 12 schemes happening across the UK is along the Essex Coast. Essex Wildlife Trust is quantifying the success of a cost-effective and easily replicable restoration technique to restore and protect the UK’s saltmarshes. This essential phase will lay the groundwork for scoping future expansion at a landscape scale. The project began in 2018 and involves installing coir structures within selected creeks to encourage sediment accumulation and plant growth, protecting the saltmarsh habitat. Saltmarshes provide ecosystem services such as reducing flood risks and the effects of storm surges, as well as acting as a massive carbon sink. Over the last 25 years, approximately 1000 hectares of this vital habitat has been lost.
As the UK gears up to hosting the UN climate conference COP 26 in November, The Wildlife Trusts – a movement of 46 nature charities – are delivering on-the-ground, natural solutions to ensure the UK plays its part in tackling the interlinked climate and nature crises.
The restoration of the natural world is fundamental to realising the ambition to restrict global temperature rise to below 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Craig Bennett, Chief Executive of The Wildlife Trusts, says: Nature can be our biggest ally in limiting global temperature rises, but we have to give it a huge helping hand. We need to cut emissions at source to fight climate change – and we can also have a big impact by restoring nature because wilder places lock-up carbon. That means repairing the amazing habitats in our seas, rewetting peatlands, dramatically changing how we manage farmland, rewilding landscapes, and bringing back habitats that have been lost. Crucially, we need to fund projects that get results. Thanks to support from players of People’s Postcode Lottery, we’re delighted to move forward with these 12 high-impact schemes, which will help to bring nature back and store carbon – both on land and at sea.
Laura Chow, Head of Charities at People’s Postcode Lottery, says: We’re delighted funding raised by our players is helping The Wildlife Trusts restore habitats across the country that play a key role in accumulating and storing carbon. By helping nature thrive, these ambitious projects offer solutions to the challenges we face from climate change so these landscapes and the wildlife there can be enjoyed by future generations. Players of People’s Postcode Lottery are supporting these projects as part of our Postcode Climate Challenge initiative, which is providing 12 charities with an additional £24 million in funding for initiatives tackling climate change this year. The diversity of the 12 projects reflects the vast and varied ways nature can help to tackle climate change. They also show how the UK can become a world leader in transforming its land and seas to lock in carbon and bring wildlife back as well.
The projects are:
- Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire & Northamptonshire Wildlife Trust – creating habitat features to help temperature-sensitive butterflies
- Cheshire, Staffordshire and Shropshire Wildlife Trusts – restoring fragmented wetlands, paving the way to bring back beavers
- Cumbria Wildlife Trust – peatland repair and sphagnum moss farming
- Derbyshire Wildlife Trust – facilitating woodland creation and connectivity in the Derwent Valley
- Devon Wildlife Trust – creating a site to demonstrate nature-based solutions
- Essex Wildlife Trust – developing saltmarsh restoration
- Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust – seagrass restoration in the Solent
- Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust – creating a nature recovery network
- Sheffield and Rotherham Wildlife Trust – natural flood management across a river catchment
- Somerset Wildlife Trust – survey work to enable lowland peatland restoration
- Sussex Wildlife Trust – working with local communities to restore a kelp forest
- Yorkshire Wildlife Trust – the restoration of the Great North Bog
Players of People’s Postcode Lottery have been supporting The Wildlife Trusts since 2008 and have raised over £15 million to date. Funding has helped The Wildlife Trusts to protect wild places and wildlife, provide opportunities for children to explore nature, create outdoor learning areas, and empower people of all ages to help wildlife in their daily lives.