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UK-wide biodiversity renewal project receives £10m boost

New funds will be used to investigate and tackle habitat and species loss throughout Great Britain. 

Researchers at the University of Exeter have secured £10m for the ‘Renewing biodiversity through a people-in-nature approach’ (RENEW) initiative, which encourages landowners, businesses, and communities, to help restore woodlands, wetland, and farmland across England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland. 

red and purple flower field during daytime

Aimed at putting biodiversity revitalisation at the core of the country’s efforts to improve its record on the environment, the project is also designed to upskill professionals and increase ecological expertise across relevant sectors. 

Funding has come from the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), and represents around one quarter of the organisation’s total budget to find resolutions to issues caused by climate change. Work will be carried out by the University of Exeter and National Trust. 

‘We’re delighted to receive such a significant investment from the Natural Environment Research Council, which will give nature in the UK a critical boost,’ said Professor Kevin Gaston, founding Director of the Environment and Sustainability Institute in Cornwall, who is leading on the project. 

“Currently, the UK is one of the world’s most nature-depleted countries, with 40% of monitored species having declined in abundance in recent decades. We rely on the biodiversity of the planet’s ecosystem to provide oxygen, pollination of plants, food and much more, making this a crucial time to act,’ he continued, explaining RENEW will be contribute to the UK government’s target of reversing biodiversity decline by 2030.

RENEW has identified four key challenges which will form the basis of its efforts. These include developing new ways to harness community support for biodiversity renewal, and working towards greater inclusion of individuals and communities that are not currently engaged with environmental issues. 

Elsewhere, steps will be taken to look at how renewal activities can be designed and delivered by different groups and landowners. The question of how biodiversity renewal can most effectively be embedded into finance and business activities will also be addressed. 

In related news, 54 projects tackling biodiversity have received funding in Scotland. 

 

Image credit: Leslie Bowman

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