New national parks and thousands of green jobs under plans to build back greener
The new measures are part of the government's 25 Year Environment Plan
• Thousands of new jobs to be created and retained as part of Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan to drive UK’s green ambitions
• New national parks and greater protections for England’s iconic landscapes
• Plans come ahead of publication next week of wider blueprint for UK green industrial revolution, creating thousands of jobs and making progress on net zero targets
Even more new jobs will be created and retained under new plans to kickstart a green economic recovery, the government announced today (Sunday 15 November), alongside greater protections for England’s iconic landscapes and the creation of new national parks.
Following the initial success of the first round, £40 million additional investment into the government’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund will go towards creating and retaining thousands of jobs, with funding being awarded to environmental charities and partners across England to restore the natural environment and help make progress on the UK’s ongoing work to address the twin challenges of biodiversity loss and climate change, as part of our green recovery from Covid-19.
After a competitive process, a wide range of projects to be announced shortly will receive funding to enhance our natural environment and create and support thousands of jobs. These may include action towards the creation or restoration of priority habitats, preventing or cleaning up pollution, woodland creation, peatland and wetland restoration and actions to help people connect with nature. This will in turn create and retain a range of skilled and unskilled jobs, such as ecologists, project managers, tree planters and teams to carry out nature restoration.
The government has also announced today that more of England’s beautiful and iconic landscapes will be turned into National Parks and Areas of Natural Beauty, in order to increase access to nature for communities and better protect the country’s rich wildlife and biodiversity.
10 “Landscape Recovery” projects will also be launched across England over the next four years to restore peatlands, woodlands and create wilder landscapes. These projects will help restore the equivalent of over 30,000 football pitches of wildlife rich habitat.
The commitments come ahead of the publication of the Prime Minister’s Ten Point Plan next week, which will set out his steps for a green industrial revolution to boost green jobs whilst invigorating plans to achieve net zero by 2050.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:
"As we build back greener we’re taking new steps to expand and enhance our landscapes - creating and retaining thousands of green jobs in the process which will be crucial to my Ten Point Plan for delivering a green recovery.
"Britain’s iconic landscapes are part of the fabric of our national identity – sustaining our communities, driving local economies and inspiring people across the ages. That’s why with the natural world under threat, it’s more important than ever that we act now to enhance our natural environment and protect our precious wildlife and biodiversity."
These measures mark the next steps in delivering on the government’s 25 Year Environment Plan commitments and its pledge to protect 30% of the UK’s land by 2030.
Combined, the new plans to safeguard the natural environment will extend protections of land by 150,000ha in England towards the government’s goal of protecting and enhancing an additional area of over 400,000ha.
Environment Secretary George Eustice said:
"As we build back greener from the coronavirus pandemic, we are committed to shaping a cleaner and more resilient society to protect and restore our natural environment and diverse ecosystems.
"Today’s announcement illustrates how we are leading the world in protecting the natural environment and combating climate change.
"By starting the process for designating more of our beautiful and iconic landscapes as National Parks and AONBs, and through the new Landscape Recovery projects, we will help expand and protect precious wildlife habitats and, vitally, increase people’s access to our treasured landscapes."
The new Landscape Recovery projects will help expand wildlife habitats in England, restoring wilder landscapes and taking forward our ambition to establish a Nature Recovery Network, which will bring together representatives from across England to drive forward the restoration of protected sites and landscapes. These projects could give a home to species that we have seen flourish in similar initiatives across the country, which include the curlew, nightingale, horseshoe bat, pine marten, red squirrel and wild orchids.
The projects will be established over the next four years through the Government’s Environmental Land Management scheme, which will be centred around support aimed at incentivising sustainable farming practices, creating habitats for nature recovery and supporting the establishment of new woodland and other ecosystem services to help tackle challenges like climate change. This follows the landmark Agriculture Bill passing into law this week.
The plans will also help protect the country’s natural infrastructure by expanding a variety of habitats, such as trees, peat and grassland which are central to capturing and removing CO2 from the atmosphere, helping to improve air quality for our communities.