Lancashire Times
A Voice of the Free Press
10:36 AM 14th September 2023

Butterflies, Bats And Birds Among Rare Species Set To Benefit From New Funding Announced


Image courtesy of North Yorkshire Crayfish Forum
Image courtesy of North Yorkshire Crayfish Forum
Some of England’s most rare and threatened species – from the Large Marsh Grasshopper, native White-Clawed Crayfish to Lapwings and Water Voles – are to be supercharged on the road to recovery thanks to a multi-million-pound grant scheme.

63 projects across the country have today (14 September) been awarded a share of £14.5 million by Natural England to help recover 150 species nationwide.

The Species Recovery Programme Grant Scheme supports targeted action to recover our most endangered species. The funding will support efforts to fine tune habitat conditions for our rarest species, and actions such as propagation, captive rearing, translocations, research and solution-trialling to find the best approaches to enable endangered wildlife to survive and thrive.

England’s wildlife is facing extreme pressures – habitat fragmentation, climate change and invasive species have created huge declines, with average species abundance falling by 52%. Numbers of the Duke of Burgundy Butterfly, for example, have declined by some 50% in the last 20 years.

One of the projects in the North to benefit from the funding is:

Saving North Yorkshire’s Native Crayfish – Claws for Thought delivered by the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, this project will work with members of the North Yorkshire Crayfish Forum to create a resilient population of the native White-clawed Crayfish. The project will establish a crayfish rearing facility, and interventions, such as introducing woody debris and reducing sediment, will provide new breeding sites and food sources supporting sustainable populations of native Crayfish.

Tony Juniper, Chair of Natural England, said:
"Nature is in drastic decline all around us, with England now one of the most nature depleted countries in Earth. Many once common animals and plants are much reduced with some 15 percent of species at risk of becoming extinct here.

"It’s a dire situation, but can still be turned around. We know this because we’ve seen the population of the once endangered Bittern rise dramatically, the recovery of the Fen Raft Spider and Water Voles successfully reintroduced to areas from where they had previously been lost. The partnership projects we are highlighting today demonstrate the power of collaborative action to reverse species decline and we look forward to seeing positive practical progress as a result of the investments being made”.

The money has been awarded following a competitive application round, and will be used by environmental charities, wildlife organisations, local authorities and charities in projects across the country.

The projects will help deliver the Nature Recovery Network, creating, improving and connecting more wildlife-rich areas benefitting people and helping species to thrive.

The projects will also provide new opportunities for people to experience the wellbeing benefits of accessing the natural world, and help build resilience to climate change, while sustaining the vital ecosystems that provide us with healthy soil, clean air and water.

Improving strongholds for wildlife and investing in long-term species recovery will help achieve the government’s pledge to reduce the species extinction by 2042 compared to 2022 levels, restore more than 500,000 hectares of wildlife habitat, and increase species abundance as set out in the Environmental Improvement Plan.