To boost nature recovery and connect more people to nature in Merseyside and Cheshire, the Mersey Forest, through Community Forest Trust, has been awarded £1,326,700 to deliver its Community Forest programme ‘More From Trees’.
The programme will improve biodiversity by creating new green corridors in Liverpool city centre, develop a specialist tree nursery for native tree species, improve habitats for a range of species, and deploy natural flood management in two catchments in Cheshire.
The project will also create a new green task force of retrained military veterans and offer a range of nature-based activities to improve the health and well-being of local people.
Ninety nature projects across England have been awarded grants from £68,100 to £1,950,000 to create and retain over 1,000 green jobs, backed by the Government’s £80 million Green Recovery Challenge Fund.
Work will be carried out on over 600 sites from North Northumberland to the tip of Cornwall, and combined with the first round, almost a million trees will be planted, contributing towards the Government’s commitment to treble tree planting rates across England by the end of this Parliament.
The Mersey Forest will deliver it’s ‘More From Trees’ project, with a wide range of partners including Community Forest Trust, Cheshire Wildlife Trust, the PATT Foundation, Liverpool City Council and Liverpool John Moore’s University.
Mersey Forest Director, Paul Nolan, said: “We are delighted with the support offered to our partnership through the Green Recovery Challenge Fund, which will help us to deliver a portfolio of ambitious nature boosting projects across Merseyside and Cheshire. From creating pollinator corridors across Liverpool City Centre, improving habitats within Bold Forest Park, to connecting over 1,000 people with nature based activities, the programme will help us to work in partnership to deliver key elements of the Mersey Forest Plan, and harness the wide range of benefits trees and woodlands can provide.”
The Green Recovery Challenge Fund is a key part of the Prime Minister’s 10 Point Plan to kick-start nature recovery and tackle climate change. Connecting people with nature is another priority theme: by increasing access to nature and greenspaces, projects will support both physical and mental wellbeing.
Natural England Chair Tony Juniper said: “Our environmental and conservation charity sector does an incredible job in protecting, improving and restoring the natural environment for the benefit of communities and the economy.”
The Government’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund was developed by Defra and its Arm’s-Length Bodies. It is being delivered by The National Lottery Heritage Fund in partnership with Natural England, the Environment Agency and Forestry Commission.
Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive, National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “From wetland restoration, to creating wildlife-rich habitat for bees, it is vital that we value, protect and rebuild our natural heritage. This new funding will not only allow projects to carry out direct conservation which is essential in protecting our biodiversity, but it will increase awareness of how and why we need to change our behaviours in order to protect our future.”