Progress in funding nature’s recovery
Our Partners’ hard work and commitment to securing funding for nature’s recovery is already paying dividends in early 2024:
Revitalising North Somerset’s Peatlands
It was announced at the beginning of February that two projects in North Somerset will be funded by Defra’s Lowland Agricultural Peat Pilot Grant. This will bring over £0.5M of investment into efforts to recover nature and restore natural processes in the North Somerset Levels and Moors.
North Somerset Council will lead a project to understand the water dynamics, climate-change impacts, flood risk and water-management regime and to develop costed plans for action.
FWAG South West will lead a project across Somerset and North Somerset to develop and test a model aimed at engagement with landowners and stakeholders in planning local water-level management. The project will produce field-scale, costed hydrological plans, specifically modelling mosaic land-use change and elevated water tables within each catchment.
Green Recovery Fund (GRF)
Seven WENP partnership projects have been selected for the next stage of GRF – to submit business cases to the West of England Combined Authority’s Green Recovery Fund.There is exceptional ambition, scale and variety of projects, including:
The establishment of farm clusters and pollinator pathways in BANES,
Managing more green space for nature in Bristol,
Enhancing nature and improving climate resilience of Severnside,
Supporting region-wide monitoring of wildlife abundance, and
Delivering our strategy for nature and health.
Over the next two months, partners will work together to develop robust business cases for these projects, which collectively will make huge strides towards our ambitions for nature recovery in the region.
Local Nature Recovery Strategy (LNRS) Consultation
The first draft of the West of England LNRS is nearing completion, with the West of England Combined Authority planning to launch a public consultation on this draft in mid-March 2024. So far, extensive stakeholder engagement has been conducted across the region to inform the consultation draft.
Next, it will be the chance for everyone in the West of England to provide their thoughts on the priorities for nature recovery which are set out in the LNRS. Further information on how you can get involved in the consultation will be shared on the West of England Combined Authority website.
Wider Partner Updates
Avon Needs Trees – One month remaining to get major new 420-acre nature project over the line
Avon Needs Trees is excited to announce that plans for the South West’s biggest new woodland creation project, Lower Chew Forest, is close to getting the green light, at Wick Farm between Bristol and Bath, with a month or so to go to complete the purchase on the land.
With one month remaining to get this exciting project over the line, can you help? Please share this crowd funder page as widely as you can. Don’t leave it up to someone else, they might be leaving it up to you!
Vacancy within the Bristol Avon Rivers Trust
The Bristol Avon Rivers Trust currently have a vacancy to join their organisation as a Senior Farm Advisor. More details on the position can be found on their website here with the closing date for applications on Monday 18th March 2024.
Somer Valley Rediscovered Project Updates
Somer Valley Rediscovered is a strategic green infrastructure project led by Bath & North East Somerset (B&NES) Council, Wessex Water, B&NES Public Health and Natural England, funded from the West of England Combined Authority Green Recovery Fund.
Hedge Laying training was provided in Riverside Staddlestones Park and a new free nature wellbeing course will be held in Waterside Valley, starting on 22nd February 2024.
The free course is open for adults of all ages to explore, reignite, and deepen connections to the living world, and benefit from the support, health, and wellbeing found in this.
2024 Bee Bold Awards
The 2024 Bee Bold Awards will be launching on Wednesday 21st February – the awards recognise and celebrate businesses, organisations and schools that are taking positive action to support pollinators and nature within the West of England region.
More information on the award categories, how to apply and the deadlines will be provided on the Bee Bold webpages.
Green Skills Bootcamps
The Skills Bootcamp team at the Combined Authority currently have a variety of free flexible courses aimed at green skill development open for applicants. More details can be found on their website (please note some boot camps will be listed under ‘construction’ or ‘technical’ rather than ‘green’ courses).