Two environmental organisations have announced they will be launching a G7 nature legacy project after receiving government funding.

Natural England and Cornwall Wildlife Trust have today (Weds 9) announced that they have secured government support for a G7 nature recovery legacy project in Cornwall, aiming to knit together habitats across the region as part of an England wide Nature Recovery Network.

The G7 nature recovery project plans to connect nature reserves, such as Goss Moor National Nature Reserve and a suite of Cornwall Wildlife Trust reserves, to Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs), the Cornwall Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), the Cornwall Mining World Heritage Sites, the coast and the Fal estuary across the china clay pits to the World Heritage Site at Luxulyan Valley.

The project – expected to take five years to complete depending on future funding – will look to contribute to the UK’s target to legally protect and improve 30 per cent of land for nature by 2030.

Natural England, Cornwall Wildlife Trust and Defra in partnership with others are aiming for the G7 Summit project to deliver a lasting legacy for nature and people.

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Their aims will be:

• Restoring land through nature recovery and recreating scarce habitats through sustainable farming - Natural regeneration will be used to create scrub and woodland communities; scarce habitats such as heathland and wetland will be created, as well as the development of meadows and pasture, and the restoration of peat mires in the River Fal headwaters.

• Providing opportunities to reintroduce lost species and improving resilience for key species including dormice, marsh fritillary butterflies, and willow tit.

• Sequestrating approximately 440,000 tonnes of CO2 through forest growth and wetland restoration, including peat habitats, improved soil condition and the recovery of marine blue carbon habitats.

• Improving water quality, encouraging fish diversity and abundance, and reducing flood peaks to reduce downstream flooding.

• Improving access to green space and green social prescribing so people across the county can enjoy the wellbeing benefits of contact with nature.

To enable transformation at this scale, the programme will look to employ skilled staff, develop a green jobs apprenticeship scheme and involve extensive community engagement to kickstart the development of nature’s recovery in Cornwall.

It is hoped that once the project is complete, it will act as a major driver for future green prosperity in Cornwall through green jobs, sustainable tourism and farming, and a significant contribution to the national Nature Recovery Network as set out in the Environment Bill.

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Environment Secretary, George Eustice, said: "The focus of government policy is to move towards nature’s recovery.

"That means doing more than just protecting a dwindling number of remaining sites.

"It means creating new habitats and making new spaces for nature.

"I am delighted that Cornwall will now be one of the first areas in the country where we deploy this new thinking with this project around Goss Moor.

"It involves reclaiming some of the land around the former clay works for nature which is a fitting legacy of G7.”

Natural England Chair, Tony Juniper, said: "We are very pleased to announce this new G7 nature recovery legacy project in Cornwall.

"It will reconnect habitats and ecosystems across the region, contributing to the conservation of rare species including Willow Tit, Dormouse and Marsh Fritillary butterfly, and will also offer the potential for the reintroduction of lost species such as the Beaver.

"With the recovery of Nature now the priority it will be one element in a national Nature Recovery Network that will include large areas of land and sea where ecological processes are being restored, including for carbon capture and improved water quality.

"It will celebrate and embrace the rich history of this part of England and will be taken forward in ways that seek to increase the value of the improved environment and health for the communities in the area, to the Cornish economy and for the many visitors who will enjoy this vibrant area during the decades ahead."

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Carolyn Cadman, Chief Executive of Cornwall Wildlife Trust, said: "The beauty of Cornwall’s coasts and countryside often masks the pressures which nature faces here, and this announcement is a welcome step forward.

"We know that with additional investment and strong environmental laws and protection, Cornwall Wildlife Trust and partners can help deliver bigger, better managed and more joined-up wildlife habitats for nature to thrive.

"We hope the G7 nature recovery legacy project will also help to attract significant new investment to support urgent efforts across the partnership to tackle climate change and reverse the decline in nature.”

Restoring nature at landscape scale is a key plank of the government’s plans to build back better from coronavirus.

The G7 nature recovery legacy project will form part of England’s Nature Recovery Network which is enhancing the quality of our existing areas for nature, restoring and creating new habitats, and linking them together to benefit nature and people in towns and cities and coast and countryside.

More, bigger, better and well-connected habitats are central to recovering species and addressing the greatest challenges we face – the climate and biodiversity crises.