Wildlife Trusts announce projects to tackle climate crisis


The Wildlife Trusts have unveiled 12 new nature recovery projects, aimed at storing carbon and helping to tackle the climate crisis.

The dozen schemes include a pioneering collaboration to improve huge tracts of fragmented wetlands across four neighbouring counties in England and Wales, paving the way for the reintroduction of beavers, as well as plans to restore peatland habitats across Cumbria, Durham, Yorkshire, Northumberland, and Somerset.

Saltmarsh restoration will be expanded along the Essex coast, while new seagrass habitats will be planted in the Solent, Hampshire, and a kelp forest restored off the Sussex coast.

Fragmented woodlands will be reconnected throughout Derbyshire, while habitats to protect temperature-sensitive chalk grassland butterfles in Bedfordshire will be created and enhanced.

Saltmarsh restoration and expansion will continue on the Essex coast as part of The Wildlife Trusts' initiative to improve carbon storage across the UK (2020 vision).

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.

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°C.

Craig Bennett, Chief Executive of The Wildlife Trusts, said: "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."

Seagrass beds are being planted in the Solent as part of the initiative (Polly Whyte).

Laura Chow, Head of Charities at People's Postcode Lottery, added: "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, as well as bring wildlife back.