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800,000 trees are to be planted, as projects of the Green Recovery Challenge Fund have announced

68 projects will receive a multi-million pound boost for green jobs and nature recreation.

  • The funding will create over 300 acres of forest, restore hedges, and plant trees in cities as the pandemic makes us greener again
  • In this first round, nearly £ 40 million was allocated to projects across England. The second round of financing is scheduled to open in early 2021

Projects that protect landscapes, connect people with nature and help create and sustain thousands of green jobs across England have received a stake of nearly £ 40 million, the government announced today.

In the 68 projects over 800,000 trees are planted and damaged habitats such as bogs, wetlands and forests are restored. The projects will also support conservation work and help improve environmental awareness.

Almost £ 40 million will be awarded in this first round of funding from the Green Recovery Challenge Fund. The second round of funding will open for applications early next year. The Green Recovery Challenge Fund is an integral part of the Prime Minister’s 10-Point Plan to stimulate nature recovery, create green jobs and combat climate change as the country recover from the pandemic better and greener .

Barn Owl, Copyright Ron Marshall, from the Surfbirds Galleries

The fund is provided by the National Lottery Heritage Fund in collaboration with Natural England and the Environment Agency.

The winning projects include:

  • The Woodland Trust, which is awarded £ 3,860,200 for restoring ancient forests and trees in 63 landscapes across England. The funds will also help improve forestry and conservation skills and capacity and revitalize UK timber markets.
  • A partnership led by the Youth Hostel Association (YHA) in England and Wales that is receiving £ 2,543,600 to connect young people with nature and create new workforces for green recovery that virtually field young people from disadvantaged areas – or address class-based learning, day and residential trips, citizen science programs and volunteer work with experienced environmental teachers in 200 different natural heritage sites such as nature reserves, AONBs, national parks and more.
  • The Center for Sustainable Healthcare, which has been awarded £ 580,400 for improving access to green spaces in NHS locations across England, including planting 10,000 trees in over 50 NHS locations, providing ecotherapy sessions in the Outdoors and even renovating a garden for a chemotherapy suite. This allows patients to be treated outdoors.
  • The Conservation Education & Research Trust will receive £ 249,900 to plant 12 “tiny forests” (the size of a tennis court) in urban areas across England.
  • Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust’s Owl Box Initiative has received a grant of £ 123,700 to work with 100 farms and provide communities with barn owl boxes to monitor their success and to involve farming families in the process.

Environment Secretary Rebecca Pow said: These projects will accelerate work across England to restore and transform our landscapes, promote nature and create green jobs. You will make a significant contribution to making us more environmentally friendly again through the coronavirus. I look forward to working with environmental organizations as these projects develop and help address the dual challenges of biodiversity loss and climate change while creating and maintaining jobs in the context of green recovery.

Emma Howard Boyd, Chair of the Environment Agency, said: Hitting net zero and meeting the government’s 25-year environmental plan goals for nature can only be achieved through the use of the right skills. The Green Recovery Challenge Fund will bring benefits to local communities and wildlife on the ground by supporting jobs in the environmental sector. This has been a tough year for everyone, but these projects give us cause for optimism and will help develop the skills needed to face the climate emergency, protect biodiversity, and build greener.

Tony Juniper, Chairman of Natural England said: The opportunity to experience wildlife has never been more important to the health and wellbeing of the country as it was this year. Today we celebrate the tangible human and wildlife benefits that this fund will soon bring as we emerge from the coronavirus crisis. It is inspiring to see how the Fund will help budding ecologists take their first roles in building careers in the natural restoration and sustainable economies that we are now dying to build. This is another step in securing the beautiful landscapes and habitats that we all depend on.

Ros Kerslake, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: Supporting our natural environment is one of the most precious things we can do right now. All of these projects are of great benefit to our beautiful landscapes and wildlife, but will also promote jobs, health and wellbeing that are vital as we get out of the COVID-19 crisis.

Treasury Secretary Kemi Badenoch said: This investment will support growth across England, create and support thousands of new jobs and help people develop valuable new skills. The Green Recovery Challenge Fund is an integral part of our efforts to support the decarbonization and restoration of biodiversity as part of our transition to a green economy.

21 projects receive the larger grants (over £ 250,000 to £ 5 million) and 47 projects receive funding for the smaller grants (£ 50 to £ 250,000).

The fund will also drive progress on the government’s broader commitments for the 25-year environmental plan, including plans to increase tree planting to 30,000 hectares per year across the UK by 2025. This stands alongside the upcoming environmental law, which puts the environment at the center of politics.We are making sure we have a cleaner, greener and more resilient country for the next generation.

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