Morecambe Bay woodlands project granted £240,000 by Green Recovery Challenge Fund

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National environmental charity Butterfly Conservation has received a grant of £240,900 from the government’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund for a major project in Morecambe Bay.

The Green Recovery for Morecambe Bay’s Woodlands project will protect and preserve threatened butterfly and moth species in the area.

The project is one of the first environmental projects awarded a grant from the government’s £80 million Green Recovery Challenge Fund.

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Defra announced grants between £62,000 and £3.8 million today, to help create and retain thousands of green jobs.

Morecambe Bay from Warton Crag.Morecambe Bay from Warton Crag.
Morecambe Bay from Warton Crag.

The projects, spread across England, will see trees planted - 800,000 in total - and protected landscapes and damaged habitats such as moorlands, wetlands and forests restored, alongside wider conservation work.

The projects will also support environmental education and connecting people with green spaces.

The Green Recovery for Morecambe Bay’s Woodlands project will promote the recovery of threatened butterfly and moth species including High Brown Fritillary, Pearl-bordered Fritillary and Duke of Burgundy as well as the rare White-spotted Sable moth, by embracing a programme of innovative and sustainable habitat management.

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This will include cutting derelict coppice, restoring and reconnecting sunny rides and glades, removing non-native invasive tree species and creating new open woodland habitats for invertebrates through tree-planting, as well as restoring cattle-grazed wood pasture habitat.

A Pearl Bordered Fritillary butterfly. Photo by Iain H Leach.A Pearl Bordered Fritillary butterfly. Photo by Iain H Leach.
A Pearl Bordered Fritillary butterfly. Photo by Iain H Leach.

68 projects have been awarded grants between £62,000 and £3.8 million to kick-start a pipeline of nature-based projects while creating and retaining jobs.

A focus of the project is to engage with local community groups and colleges so they can learn about woodlands, butterflies and wellbeing.

The project will connect with mental health support groups, NHS social prescribing and young people to facilitate their active participation in managing habitats, monitoring species and appreciating natural spaces.

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Martin Wain, North West Regional Officer at Butterfly Conservation said: "To be awarded this funding is fantastic news, not just for our charity and the work we do, but for Morecambe Bay and wider area.

"The Green Recovery for Morecambe Bay’s Woodlands project will go a long way to preserving and protecting, not just the threatened butterfly species, but the fantastic wildlife found in this region.

"This builds on years of partnership work across the landscape which has highlighted how coordinating habitat restoration between landowners makes more impact and brings benefits for local people as well as wildlife.

“Our thanks go to Defra for recognising the importance of this project and we look forward to getting started in 2021.”

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The Green Recovery Challenge Fund is part of the Prime Minister’s 10 Point Plan to kick-start nature recovery and tackle climate change.

The fund is being delivered by the National Lottery Heritage Fund in partnership with Natural England and the Environment Agency.

Environment Minister, Rebecca Pow, said: “These projects will drive forward work across England to restore and transform our landscapes, boost nature and create green jobs, and will be a vital part of helping us to build back greener from coronavirus.

“I look forward to working with environmental organisations as these projects help address the twin challenges of biodiversity loss and climate change, while creating and retaining jobs as part of the green recovery.”

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Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive, National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “Supporting our natural environment is one of the most valuable things we can do right now.

"All these projects are of huge benefit to our beautiful countryside and wildlife, but will also support jobs, health and wellbeing, which are vitally important as we begin to emerge from the coronavirus crisis.”