£100,000 boost for nature in the Liverpool City Region

Areas across the Liverpool City Region are set to benefit from up to £100,000 to help reverse decades of decline in biodiversity and habitats.

“Investing in Nature Recovery for the Liverpool City Region” is supported by a Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) fund aimed at driving private investment in nature and tackling both ecological and climate emergencies.

The successful bid to the Natural Environment Investment Readiness Fund (NEIRF) was led by the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority.

Stanley Bank Wood, an ancient semi-natural woodland in St Helens.

The project will develop a nature-based investment model to deliver biodiversity and environmental recovery for the Liverpool City Region, helping reverse decades of decline in species and habitats.

The model will match green investors with developers to create and enhance wildlife projects.

It will be piloted at three existing Nature Improvement Areas (NIAs) within Knowsley, Liverpool, Sefton and St Helens, helping to attract investment nto habitat delivery within these areas.

The NIAs within this pilot are focused around the Alt and Sankey river catchments and delivery will focus on creating, enhancing and restoring wetland habitats as well as grassland and woodland.

This will help drive species recovery in these areas as well as providing wider benefits such as flood alleviation, improved water quality and natural greenspace.

Mayor Steve Rotheram with children at an environmental project.

Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said:

“From our stunning stretches of coastline to our parks and green spaces, the Liverpool City Region boasts an abundance of natural beauty spots.

“While many of us enjoy visiting these spaces with our friends and family, it can be easy to forget that we’re also sharing them with a rich ecosystem of other creatures and species too.

“Our natural environment is one of our most precious and fragile assets – but with the right level of funding and ambition, I’m positive that we can make a meaningful difference.

“I want to build a healthier, greener city region to pass on to the next generation, and we can only achieve that by investing in the health of our natural environment and biodiversity.”

Dr Alan Jemmett, Director of Environmental Advisory Service (EAS), said:

“The Defra grant could be a game changer for nature recovery and is a once in a generation opportunity.

“Not only will it help developers and housebuilders meet their responsibilities for nature, if should provide access to new investment for our area to help local authorities improve land for the nature and local people.”

Cllr David Baines, Liverpool City Region Combined Authority Portfolio Holder for Climate Emergency and Renewable Energy, said:

“It is a sad fact that the UK is one of the most nature depleted countries in the world so anything that we can do to try and reverse the loss of species and enhance natural habitats is hugely important.

“This is a really innovative project and I look forward to seeing the results of these pilot schemes.”

The grant will accelerate preparation for Biodiversity Net Gain and Local Nature Recovery Networks as well as responses to climate emergency and nature crisis.

The project will provide a model which can be scaled up and rolled out across the Liverpool City Region and further afield.

Its aim is to deliver multiple benefits for communities, enable private investment, assist local authority and NGOs meet land management challenges and make progress towards climate, net zero and biodiversity.

Led by the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority and managed by EAS, the project brings together many partners including Liverpool John Moores University, Mersey Rivers Trust, Sankey and Alt-Crossens Catchment Partnerships, Groundwork, Lancashire Wildlife Trust, Liverpool, Knowsley, St. Helens and Sefton Councils and Mersey Forest.

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