Government launches new £80 million fund for green jobs and national parks

Plans to help kickstart the UK’s green recovery have been unveiled yesterday (Wednesday, November 18), including the expansion of protected landscapes, increased access to nature, stronger flood resilience, and the creation and retention of thousands of green jobs.

The Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan also confirms new National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) will be created, as well as 10 Landscape Recovery projects.

These initiatives have a goal of protecting 30% of UK land by 2030, extending protections by 1.5% in England towards our goal of an additional area of over 400,000ha and restoring the equivalent of over 30,000 football pitches of wildlife rich habitat.

In 2021 government will start the formal process of designation of the new National Parks and AONBs which will involve identifying the best candidates.

This will look at how new sites contribute to wider goals for nature, beauty, heritage and people.

A new £40 million additional investment into the government’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund has also been confirmed for creating and retaining thousands of green jobs in areas including tree planting, environmental education, and the restoration of damaged habitats such as peatlands and wetlands.

The successful projects from the first funding round will be announced in the coming weeks.

£5.2 billion for flood defences will also help the country adapt to a changing climate, with an increased focus on nature-based solutions highlighted in the recent flood strategy.

‘Driving forward a green revolution’

Environment Secretary George Eustice said:

We are committed to driving forward a green revolution as we build back better and greener from the pandemic, and the Ten Point Plan provides a crucial vehicle to help us shape a cleaner and more resilient society.

“Our Green Recovery Challenge Fund received an overwhelming response, and this additional funding will help support even more environmental projects to help tackle the nature and climate crisis.”

Natural England Chair Tony Juniper said:

It is essential that we place nature recovery at the heart of national recovery and the Prime Minister’s ambitious plan to do just that is very welcome indeed.

“Investing in large-scale Landscape Recovery projects, creating more protected areas and employing hundreds more people to restore the natural environment will support the flourishing new Nature Recovery Network that we and others are driving forward across the length and breadth of the country.”