Mayor of London awards funding to support rewilding of capital

19 projects that will help rewild London and recover nature have been awarded a share of £600,000 by the Mayor of London.

The 19 rewilding projects across the city will enhance and connect 54 of London’s most important places for wildlife – Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINCs) – and create more natural habitats for plants and animals to thrive.

The projects will help restore wildlife habitats including rivers, help species such as water vole thrive, create meadows for pollinators and new wetlands for birds, as well as enable the monitoring of species like hedgehogs to inform projects to reverse their decline.

Over 250 hectares of priority habitat will be restored or created through the fund, the equivalent of ten St James’ Parks.

The announcement comes on the day that Enfield Council are releasing two beavers into wetlands in Enfield, supporting a series of projects designed to rewild the city and help restore nature.

The beaver reintroduction supports wider plans to improve the green belt including the creation of new woodland with 100,000 trees, supported from the Mayor’s Woodland Creation Fund.

forest near city

Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: ‘During the pandemic, we came to appreciate just how important green spaces and contact with nature are for our health and well-being. That’s why I’m doing everything I can to ensure that all Londoners, especially those without outside space, can access local parks and meadows.

‘These projects will not only help to improve London’s biodiversity but will also help enrich the lives of Londoners. As well as funding projects through the Rewild London Find, I’m also bringing together a group of experts to consider further opportunities for rewilding the city so we can continue making London an even better home for wildlife and even more enjoyable place to live.’

To further support London’s green revival, the Mayor will convene a rewilding taskforce next month to explore opportunities for more ambitious and innovative projects.

The Taskforce will be chaired by Shirley Rodrigues, Deputy Mayor of Environment & Energy with Nicky Gavron (London Recovery Board) and Ben Goldsmith (Defra) acting as co-vice chairs. Other invited organisations include the London Wildlife Trust, Natural History Museum, Rewild Britain, RSPB, and Citizen Zoo, alongside representation from London boroughs, development firms, youth, and the environmental news media.

RSPB’s Chief Executive Beccy Speight commented: ‘Nature is in crisis – as the State of Nature report makes clear, around half of UK species are in decline and 15% are threatened with being lost completely. So nature needs urgent help – and the pandemic has demonstrated just how much people also need nature and access to it. 

‘Polling commissioned by the RSPB in 2020 found that nine out of ten respondents agreed that increasing the amount of accessible nature-rich green space would help to improve people’s health, well-being and happiness. Today’s announcement by Mayor Sadiq Khan is good news for nature and good news for London’s communities, signalling an important step towards a healthier future for the city, and the RSPB looks forward to playing our role through the London Rewilding Taskforce.’

Photo by luce_ mars


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