Working towards a green recovery
Long-term recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic cannot be about short-term economic growth alone. We need a recovery that delivers for society, climate and the environment, enhancing the health and wellbeing of people, communities and the UK as a whole.
That’s why, with support from the Government’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund, we’re kickstarting a recovery that secures our future with action on climate and the environment, while ensuring people can enjoy nature on their doorstep, access local heritage and come together in shared cultural spaces.
To this end, we're working hard to plant trees and hedgerows, restore floodplains, protect wildlife and store carbon at the places in our care. Watch this space for the latest updates on existing and future projects.
Restoring nature at the places in our care
In November 2020 we found out we were successful in two funding bids: 'Historic Landscapes' and 'Ancient Woodland and Trees' (led by the Woodland Trust).
The two programmes of work will not only help to tackle the climate and nature emergencies but also boost the economy by creating and retaining jobs within the sector. This will stimulate demand and support longer-term sustainable growth, as well as inspire the conservationists and foresters of the future.
Looking after historic landscapes
The 'Historic Landscapes' programme has been awarded £3.85 million by Defra as part of the Green Recovery Challenge Fund. This programme of work, worth more than £4.7 million, will kickstart the development of a new purpose for five of our most historic landscapes. This means these treasured historic estates will also lead the way in delivering a much wider range of benefits for nature, carbon reduction and people.
Projects at Exmoor, Shropshire and the Lake District have jointly received additional funding of almost £2m from DEFRA's Green Recovery Challenge Fund.
This will allow us to carry out vital conservation work that will benefit nature, the climate and people, as well as help the economy by creating and retaining jobs. This includes river restoration, habitat creation and connection, natural flood management, nature-friendly farming and tree planting. We'll work in partnership with other organisations and local communities to achieve all of this.
Restoring ancient trees and woods with the Woodland Trust
Ancient woodland continues to be destroyed and now only covers 2.5 per cent (609,990ha) of the UK's land mass, according to research from the Woodland Trust. The charity's report, State of the UK's Woods and Trees 2021, highlighted that 1,225 ancient woods are under threat from development and at least 981 have been permanently lost or damaged during the last 21 years.
This is why we're working with Woodland Trust to protect and restore ancient trees, woodlands and wildlife habitats. The Green Recovery Challenge Fund has provided funding of £3.86m to help us do this. In total, the partnership is delivering a £4.6m programme of work across 60 sites (918ha) cared for by the National Trust, Woodland Trust and by private owners.
The work, led by the Woodland Trust, will not only help tackle the climate and nature emergencies but also boost the economy by creating and saving jobs in the forestry sector. The 15-month programme, which started in January 2021, is taking place across England and will include the restoration of ancient woodland (191ha) at sites we look after in Devon and the East of England.
We'll also survey the most valuable ancient and veteran trees in our care using the Woodland Trust's Ancient Tree Inventory. This will help us record any gaps in our knowledge about the threats they face so we can better restore them in the future.