Walsall pilot scheme to expand wetlands and woodlands gets Government backing

A new Government-backed scheme will see up to 10,000 hectares of land around Walsall restored to its natural habitat of heathlands, wetlands and woodlands.

Wetlands in Walsall will be expanded
Wetlands in Walsall will be expanded

The Environment Department announced nature recovery scheme Purple Horizons will be one of just five projects in the country to be funded with a slice of £2.4 million.

The project also includes connecting deprived areas of Walsall with green habitats which will give residents health benefits of a better environment. Environment Minister Rebecca Pow said: “These five projects across England are superb examples of exciting, large-scale restoration that is critically needed to bring about a step-change in the recovery of nature in this country.

“They will significantly contribute to achieving our target to halt the decline in species abundance by 2030 and our commitment to protect 30 per cent of our land by 2030, enabling us to leave the environment in a better state than we found it.”

Natural England chairman Tony Juniper added: “Nature recovery can only occur if we take action at scale, and that can only work through partnerships.

“These five landmark projects will seek to recover species and habitats through collaboration among a wide range of landowners and organisations, delivering benefits for wildlife, local economies, adaptation to climate change and for public wellbeing.”

Joan Edwards, director of policy at The Wildlife Trusts, said it was “good to see positive ambition” from the Government to help people access nature near where they lived and connect existing wildlife sites.

“Species desperately need green corridors to bridge together fragmented habitats in addition to big, bold projects that enable landscapes to recover at scale.

“Wildlife has suffered catastrophic declines in recent decades and 15 per cent of species in the UK are at risk of extinction.

“Government can help turn that around by accelerating the creation of a nature recovery network, dedicating more land for nature, and applying stronger protections for our most important sites,

An Environment Department spokesman added: “Purple Horizons is a scheme extending across up to 10,000 hectares on the fringes of the West Midlands conurbation and focusing on restoring and connecting fragmented heathlands to create a mosaic of heathlands, wetlands, woodlands and grasslands.

“It will link up existing protected areas, work with local landowners to deliver habitat creation and carbon storage, and is developing a plan for connecting with communities in the deprived areas of Walsall to deliver green areas where they will have the greatest health benefits.”

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