£30m wildlife appeal aims to buy land for nature recovery
PUBLISHED: 15:07 28 September 2020 | UPDATED: 15:45 28 September 2020
Archant Norfolk 2014
Wildlife conservation charities have launched a £30m public appeal aiming to spark nature recovery across 30pc of the country’s land and sea by 2030.
The Wildlife Trusts warn that hedgehogs, red squirrels, water voles, cuckoos and basking sharks are among the species suffering serious declines in recent decades, with a loss of wild places and the breaking up of remaining habitats leaving natural systems unable to function properly.
The groups want to see at least 30pc of England’s land and sea area put into recovery for nature by 2030, by restoring habitats from wildflower meadows to woodlands, wetlands and rewilding.
Their “30 by 30” fundraising effort aims to help start that process by buying land to expand and join up their existing nature reserves, as well as working with other landowners to bring back wildlife to more of the countryside.
Nik Khandpur is director of development and engagement for Norfolk Wildlife Trust, which will be seeking support for a major land appeal in October.
He said: “Even in recent challenging times Norfolk Wildlife Trust has managed to secure support to acquire new land for wildlife and restore habitats across Norfolk. We will be continuing to do so as part of our commitment to the 30 by 30 campaign and would love people to help us.
“Ultimately our shared national ambition will create a healthier landscape and give species more space to thrive.”
The Wildlife Trusts are also calling for the government to introduce a new “wild belt” designation so land with the potential for nature restoration or rewilding can be protected from future development.
The government reports that 28pc of land and 24pc of the sea is under protection. Prime minister Boris Johnson is today expected to join more than 60 United Nations leaders in pledging to increase the amount of protected land to 30pc by 2030 – an extra 400,000 hectares of countryside in the UK.
But the Wildlife Trusts say these figures include designations such as National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, which do not necessarily protect nature. They say just 10pc of the UK’s land is protected for wildlife – and much of this is in poor condition.
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Craig Bennett, chief executive of The Wildlife Trusts, said: “We’ve set ourselves an ambitious goal – to raise £30m and kickstart the process of securing at least 30pc of land and sea in nature’s recovery by 2030.
“We will buy land to expand and join up our nature reserves; we’ll work with others to show how to bring wildlife back to their land, and we’re calling for nature’s recovery through a new package of policy measures, including big new ideas like wild belt.”
• To support Norfolk Wildlife Trust’s appeal and the 30 by 30 campaign in the county see the Norfolk Wildlife Trust website.
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