Devon nature projects receive government funding

Exmoor Aerial

The National Trust was separately awarded nearly £1m for its Wild Exmoor Carbon Sequestration Project at the 670-hectare Watersmeet estate

Nature projects that aim to explore the possibilities of carbon capture have received government funding.

Natural England confirmed projects based in Devon at Plymouth and Exmoor would receive nearly £2m for the restoration of natural environments.

Funding was also announced for projects in Northumberland, Derbyshire, Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire.

Carbon capture is the process of removing CO2, which contributes to climate change, from the atmosphere.

The agency said trees, hedges and grasslands – that all absorb carbon and hold it in the soil – could help build resilience towards climate change.

Plymouth City Council, in partnership with the National Trust, was awarded nearly £1m for its Natural Grid project, which involves the restoration of woodland pastures, grassland and salt marshes around the city.

The National Trust was separately awarded nearly £1m for its Wild Exmoor Carbon Sequestration Project at the 670-hectare Watersmeet estate.

“The charity will create a wetter and wilder landscape by restoring and protecting coastal woodland, heathland habitats, species rich grassland and wood pasture,” Natural England said of the Exmoor project.

Almost £600,000 was awarded to the Wansbeck Restoration for Climate Change project in Northumberland and £645,000 for the Derwent Forest Landscape Recovery Project in Derbyshire.

More than £780,000 was given to the Oxfordshire-Buckinghamshire Freshwater Network and more than £417,000 to Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust to restore a 500-hectare estate in the Severn Vale.

‘Huge opportunities’

Tony Juniper, chair of Natural England, said the natural world was a potential solution to climate change.

“From trees, hedges and grasslands that absorb carbon from the air to the peat-rich soils that hold it in the ground, there are huge opportunities to catch carbon while achieving other benefits at the same time,” he said.

“The simple fact is that when it comes to our net-zero ambitions nature is our biggest ally and the more we can do to restore it the better.”

Alan Lovell, from the Environment Agency, said natural processes were “powerful tools”.

He added: “The collective ambition to restore nature at a landscape scale, alongside the right financial incentives, will create a more resilient approach which is needed to address the urgent challenges of nature loss and climate change.”

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