WWT receives a £ 1.58 million grant to protect and improve the Somerset coastline

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WWT receives a £ 1.58 million grant to protect and improve the Somerset coastline

WWT’s ambitious new project to protect the Somerset coast from the effects of climate change has received a £ 1.58 million donation from the government’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund.

It is one of the first environmental projects to receive a grant from the government allocated £ 80 million pot.

The program, which will focus on creating and restoring 130 hectares of wildlife habitats, aims to increase the resilience of the county’s coastline through landscape-scale interventions. Nature-based solutions through natural flood management and improved land management will also increase flood resistance, improve soil and water quality, and help wetlands absorb carbon.

The development also aims to embed the knowledge and skills in the local communities so that they can continue this work in the future.

Tim McGrath, Senior Project Manager, Wetland Landscapes at WWT, said:

“The world is confronted with a climate crisis, a natural crisis and an emerging crisis of wellbeing. To counteract this, WWT is launching its own Blue Recovery, which suggests creating and restoring wetlands as a natural solution to these problems.

Common Crane, Copyright Andy Adcock, from the Surfbirds Galleries

“Healthy wetlands have many advantages for humans and animals. They store more carbon than forests, store and slow the flow of water, prevent flooding, promote biodiversity and offer people an abundance of nature that has been shown to have positive effects on health.

“We are delighted to be the recipient of such a generous fund to support this work in Somerset, where WWT has long been present and revolves around the spectacular WWT Steart Marshes.”

The project is being carried out in collaboration with the Farming & Wildlife Advisory Group South West (FWAG), Bridgwater & Taunton College (BTC) and Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU).

Defra today announced grants of between £ 62,000 and £ 3.8 million to help create and maintain thousands of green jobs. The projects, which are spread across England, are planting trees – 800,000 in total – and restoring protected landscapes and damaged habitats such as moorland, wetlands and woodland, and more extensive conservation work. The projects will also support environmental education and connect people with green spaces.

The Green Recovery Challenge Fund is an integral part of the Prime Minister’s 10-point plan to stimulate nature’s recovery and combat climate change. The fund is provided by the National Lottery Heritage Fund in collaboration with Natural England and the Environment Agency.

  • 68 projects received grants of between £ 62,000 and £ 3.8 million to start a pipeline of nature-based projects while creating and maintaining jobs
  • Almost £ 40 million will be provided in the first round of funding and in the second round in early 2021

Environment Minister Rebecca Pow said:

“These projects will fuel the 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 help address the dual challenges of biodiversity loss and climate change while creating and maintaining jobs in green recovery.”

Ros Kerslake, Executive Director of the National Lottery Heritage Fund, said:

“Supporting our natural environment is one of the most valuable 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 coronavirus crisis. “