Thousands of species set to benefit from new government funding

Lapwings, water voles and dragonflies are among the species to benefit from new government funding awarded to restore and create nature-rich landscapes across England.

Twenty conservation projects will each receive a share of £25 million from the Species Survival Fund, with the ambition to restore over 3,300 hectares of critical habitats for wildlife, such as the Atlantic rainforest, grasslands, woodlands, and wetlands – a total area equivalent to the size of York.

The projects, which span the length and breadth of the country from Cornwall to Northumberland, will see over 11.5 kilometres of chalk river corridor restored in Hertfordshire, coastal and floodplain marsh improved in Dorset and chalky meadows recovered across the high peak of Derbyshire.

Grants of up to £3 million have been awarded to projects run by wildlife charities, farmers, and community groups to accelerate nature recovery and support precious species. The Fund is being delivered by The National Lottery Heritage Fund on behalf of Defra.

Successful projects that will benefit from the fund include:

  • £1.7 million to Hertfordshire and Middlesex Wildlife Trust to restore chalk rivers and create 49 hectares of wetland habitat across Hertfordshire. Protecting this key habitat will not only help to mitigate the impacts of climate change by providing natural flood management but will also help halt the decline of over 109 different species including water voles, the UK’s fastest declining mammal.
  • £1.5 million awarded to support a partnership in the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, which will restore over 3 kilometres of chalk stream habitat, enhance wet woodlands, and improve chalk grasslands. The project will also see a new flower rich pasture planted, supporting pollinators and insects to thrive.
  • £1.1 million to Groundwork Greater Manchester to unlock a thriving nature corridor across the Medlock Valley. The funding will support the restoration of a range of grassland, riverbank, wetland, and woodland habitats that will support species such as willow tit, waxcaps, and rare great crested newts. The project will also work with volunteers to connect local communities to nature as part of their everyday lives.

Environment Minister, Rebecca Pow, said, “The funding awarded today as part our flagship Species Survival Fund will enable local authorities, landowners, farmers, and our protected landscapes organisations to restore nature at scale and provide valuable green jobs in the process. Only by creating bigger and better habitats for wildlife will we be able to halt the alarming decline in species loss. This fund will be a key plank in achieving our legally binding targets to halt species loss and protect 30% land for nature by 2030.”

Eilish McGuinness, Chief Executive at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said, “We are delighted to be working in partnership with Defra again to distribute funding for these projects, which will support nature recovery by helping to boost the quality and quantity of wildlife-rich habitats across England. This partnership will further our vision for heritage to be valued, cared for and sustained for everyone, now and in the future.”

The Species Survival Fund builds upon the success of similar initiatives like the Green Recovery Challenge Fund and will create the foundations for ongoing expansion of habitats to support our wildlife.

List of projects receiving funding:

  • Mid-Cornwall Moors recovery – The project will support a partnership of schools, farmers, and landowners in restoring priority woodland and heathland habitats, as well as species rich acidic grasslands.
  • Restoration of lost habitats for a Wild Peak – The project will support improvements to a dynamic mosaic of habitats, including new woodlands and woodland edges, acid and calcareous meadows.
  • Making space for nature in Dorset – 500 hectares of habitat will be created or revitalised across 18 sites, supporting mixed scrub, floodplain wetlands and purple moor grass.
  • Coastal Grasslands Reconnected – Durham County Council will receive funding to restore lowland meadow, pasture, and grasslands.
  • Habitat Recovery in the Medlock Valley – Landscape scale capital works will be delivered through this project, supporting the restoration of grasslands and protecting the resilience of habitats along riverbanks by removing weirs.
  • Riparian habitat improvements in Hertfordshire’s Chalk Rivers – Hertfordshire and Middlesex Wildlife Trust will restore chalk rivers and create 49 hectares of wetland habitat across Hertfordshire, providing natural flood management and helping to support over 109 different species.
  • Wet Willow Wildlife Network – The project will enhance over 500 hectares of wet willow and improve the connectivity of the landscape, creating joined up spaces for nature.
  • Nature in the new forest: Saving species, restoring communities – The New Forest National Park authority will restore grasslands, hedgerows, woodlands, and wetlands.
  • Biodiversity Boost: A Journey to a Wilder Druridge – The project will support over 500 hectares of habitats for wintering wader birds.
  • Thriving in a Wilder Trent – Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust will work with farmers and landowners to improve 28 kilometres of canal, 50 hectares of farmland wetland and marshlands.
  • Ribble Revival: Room for Rivers – The project led by the Ribble Catchment Conservation Trust will connect 31 kilometres of river habitat for fish and improve riparian habitats.
  • Coastal and wetlands: more, better, bigger, joined – 246 hectares of Coastal and Floodplain Grazing Marsh will be created, saline lagoons restored, and new reedbeds added.
  • Stacking the Shire Brook Valley – Sheffield City Council will plant almost 1500 metres of hedgerows, improve wetlands, leaky dams and create new sluices and pond dipping platforms.
  • Bogs and Bitterns: Somerset wetland restoration – Somerset Wildlife Trust will work across seven locations in the area, enhancing and expanding over 54 hectares of wetland habitat.
  • Freshwater Renaissance – The National Trust will work across Somerset, Norfolk, Cumbria, and Cheshire increasing connectivity in riparian corridors and removing invasive species to allow native species to thrive.
  • Cumbrian and Southwest Rainforest Restoration – Over 580 hectares of Atlantic rainforest will be restored by the Woodland Trust, supporting key species such as wood warblers.
  • Nature Rich Miterdale – A mosaic of upland oak-birch, montane scrub and species rich grassland will be enhanced and expanded by the University of Leeds.
  • Newcastle’s Nature Networks – Urban Green will improve pollinator pathways across Newcastle upon Tyne by delivering habitat improvements in 33 public parks, 4 nature reserves and other public green spaces that will form part of Newcastle’s Nature Networks and support key priority species including bees, dingy skipper, small heath, and wall butterflies.
  • Wetter for Waders: Enhancing Somerset’s Coastal Wetlands – The Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust will work across over 300 hectares of floodplain, grazing marsh, and freshwater habitats to rewet and restore the landscape for wildlife.
  • Partnerships for Nature in the North Wessex Downs AONB – The project will restore over 3 kilometres of chalk stream habitat, enhance wet woodlands, and improve chalk grasslands. It will also see a new flower rich pasture planted, supporting pollinators and insects to thrive.


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