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Nearly 20,000 hectares of natural habitat created across England

Staff writer |
Nearly 20,000 hectares of natural habitat – the equivalent of almost 23,000 football pitches – has been created, restored or preserved across England over the past three years thanks to a £7.5 million government project.

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Rural economy in the United Kingdom is worth £210 billion.
The "Monitoring and Evaluation of Nature Improvement Areas: Final Report" showcases the achievements of the 12 Nature Improvement Areas – established in 2012 with funding from Defra – in helping protect wildlife and connect people with nature, while providing a boost to rural economies.

From the vast green plains of the Humberhead Levels to the glacial landscapes of the Meres and Mosses wetlands and the urban backdrop of the Greater Thames Marshes, the three-year initiative saw local authorities, communities, conservation groups and the private sector come together to change and improve local areas in both rural and urban locations.

This unique partnership approach means these natural spaces now not only provide a sanctuary for wildlife to thrive, but also ensure people can enjoy them for generations to come.

Environment Minister Rory Stewart said: "Our beautiful natural environment is vitally important to our national identity. By combining government investment with community action these 12 Nature Improvement Areas have delivered real results for local environments and have built a justifiable sense of pride - bringing an astonishing 47,000 days of volunteer time to the natural world."

In total, work across the areas has preserved or enhanced over 13,500 hectares of habitat, such as the 1,700 hectares of woodland and wetland in Morecambe Bay, while an additional 5,000 hectares of habitat has been created, providing much-needed homes for our precious wildlife.

The Nature Improvement Areas have also helped people reconnect with nature, with volunteers contributing over 47,000 days, school children earning their green fingers by planting trees, and communities getting involved in decision making.

Thanks to work carried out through the initiative, the areas could now see a boost to tourism, helping to generate jobs and enhance valuable rural economy which is worth £210 billion to the UK’s growing prosperity.

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