Campaigners gear up to protect nature

The National Trust and the Wildlife Trusts have both issued new calls to protect and restore nature via conservation efforts and designated ‘wild belt’ areas.

Two new major campaigns are seeking public awareness and support in restoring nature across the UK, as well as funds for conservation.

The National Trust’s new ‘Everyone Needs Nature’ campaign aims to raise awareness of how connection to nature enriches lives, following research that found 38 per cent of adults said moments in nature were what they looked forward to most during lockdown.

It comes after plans unveiled to mark the Trust’s 125th anniversary in January were put on hold after fundraising stalled due to lockdown, including planting 20 million trees and creating green corridors for nature. 

Backed by awareness messages on social media and TV and newspaper advertising, the Trust is now asking for public donations to bolster its conservation work.      

“We can’t ignore the crisis in nature that we were faced with long before the pandemic – more than a quarter of Britain’s native mammals – including the beaver, red squirrel, water vole and hedgehog are still endangered and at risk of extinction,” said Celia Richardson, director of communications and insight at the National Trust. “Creatures like these are vital to the survival of nature’s fragile ecosystems.”

Wildlife benefits from interconnected corridors of habitats.

Donations will be used for a variety of nature conservation work programmes; £5 will buy and plant a tree, £10 will help maintain coastal footpaths and £15 will help with wildflower meadow creation.

Richardson added: “We are determined to find ways to achieve the goals we announced in January, at the start of our 125th year – which included planting 20 million trees in the next decade and creating green corridors in and near cities, as well as continuing with our work to create 25,000 hectares of priority habit by 2025.”

Separately, the Wildlife Trusts have called for new ‘wild belt’ areas to be included across the UK countryside, plus in towns and cities, in response to planning changes put forward by the government.

Analysis by the Wildlife Trusts found the changes would damage nature and prevent local people from having a say in protecting urban wildlife corridors.

“We must keep the environmental protections that we have – but even that is not enough. Protections must be strengthened, and the Government needs to take a big step towards helping nature to recover everywhere,” said the chief executive of the Wildlife Trusts, Craig Bennett.

“We want to see a bold new designation which will protect new land that’s put into recovery – we’re calling this Wildbelt.”


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