At Natural Cambridgeshire’s quarterly Partnership Forum in September, the first three projects selected to benefit from the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough’s £1m Fund for Nature were presented to the online forum of over one hundred individuals and representatives of groups interested in the natural environment from around the county.
Natural Cambridgeshire’s new chair Professor Martin Doel OBE welcomed Mayor Dr Nik Johnson as the first speaker, who provided an update on the CPCA’s commitments and ambitions for climate and the environment. The first landscape scale projects to benefit from the Fund for Nature were described: Fleam Dyke Habitat Bank, Priory Farm Project, Needingworth and Rewilding Coton Countryside Reserve.
Local Haddon-based farmer Tom Martin explained why farmers care about nature, and we heard about the Fund for Nature small grants scheme which will be launched soon to enable communities to do more for nature where they live.
The Forum were also updated on progress towards the development a Local Nature Recovery Strategy for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough and the opportunities this strategy provides for further defining, accelerating and progressing our doubling nature ambitions.
Professor Martin Doel said: “This is a critical time for nature in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, with the county facing threats to our biodiversity and the impacts of climate change. For our scale of population, we also have one of the smallest proportions of land managed for nature across the country; and this impacts not just on nature, but also on people’s opportunities to access it, and the benefits we know that can provide to mental and physical health and wellbeing.”
“But with the projects Natural Cambridgeshire are taking forward, and the strong partnership we have in bringing together key influencers, advocates and delivery partners, we also have a unique opportunity now to drive forward our ambition to double the amount of space managed for nature, and connect those spaces and places for the benefit of all. I am both excited and humbled by challenges ahead in this role, and deeply grateful to have a strong team and committed Trustees to work with as we take our vision into delivery.”
Mayor Dr Nik Johnson said: “As an especially vulnerable low-lying area, with one of the lowest proportions of wildlife and greenspace managed for nature in the UK, the need to restore our depleted natural capital whilst tackling the climate emergency is undeniable. By investing in nature and exploring innovative solutions we can safeguard what we have, and create opportunities for good growth, skilled jobs, and sustainable development. The Fund for Nature projects announced at September’s Partnership Forum represent a significant step forward for our collective efforts in this vital work, and I congratulate the selected candidates whose efforts will no doubt have hugely beneficial impacts across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.”
Photo: Fleam Dyke. Photo credit: Nik Shelton