Greater protections announced for England’s iconic landscapes

As part of the government's 25 Year Environment Plan, the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs has announced greater protections for England’s iconic landscapes and the creation of new national parks.

With £40 million of additional investment into the government’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund going towards creating and retaining thousands of ‘green’ jobs, the funding will also seek 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 an overall green recovery from coronavirus.

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.

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. Defra also says that 10 ‘Landscape Recovery’ projects will 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.

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.”

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.”