Innovative nature funding to tackle climate change

14 July 2021

Cheshire and Merseyside are set to benefit from £90,000 of funding for nature projects in the area that will drive investment in nature and tackle climate change. 
Plans are in place to look at developing local approaches and innovation in attracting new, additional private sector investment in the natural environment to reduce flood risk, improve air quality and lock up carbon.  

Cheshire West and Chester Council, alongside Cheshire East Council, The Mersey Forest Partnership, Tatton Estates, Liverpool John Moore’s University, Natural Capital Solutions and the Environment Agency, secured the grant from the Government’s £10 million Natural Environment Investment Readiness Fund.

Paul Nolan, Director of The Mersey Forest, said: “There is overwhelming evidence to support investment in the natural environment to help tackle some of our most difficult challenges, climate change, loss of wildlife, health inequalities and wellbeing. This funding will enable us to work with the private sector to develop robust mechanisms that will enable more investment and, we hope, an acceleration in environmental improvements.”

Funding will be invested in a range of initiatives that deliver environmental benefits, while also demonstrating innovative approaches to private investment in nature projects. These will protect and enhance the environment in line with the Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan.

One example could be the creation of new woodland, which provides habitats for wildlife, improves access to nature for residents whilst also capturing carbon. This could benefit both local businesses, allowing them to offset the impacts of their own operations by contributing to local environmental improvements, and enhance biodiversity in the area.

Cheshire West and Chester Council’s Climate Emergency Response Plan includes a target for the borough to be carbon neutral by 2045 and sets out what the Council, partners, residents, industry, and businesses need to do, collectively, to achieve this. The Council is the host partner for The Mersey Forest and The Mersey Forest Plan, which covers Merseyside and the whole of Cheshire, shares the same ambitious targets. As an organisation, the Council aims to be carbon neutral by 2030.

Identifying sustainable, long-term, private sector investment is a key element of both plans and will play a major part in helping to restore nature and provide environmental improvements in the area.  

Councillor Matt Bryan, Cabinet Member for Housing, Planning and the Climate Emergency, said: “We recognise that the actions in our Climate Emergency Response plan are ambitious for us to be carbon neutral as a borough by 2045. To achieve this, additional funding, above what the Council can provide, is needed to meet our targets. Many private organisations are looking for opportunities to invest in sustainable projects in this country and we have a fantastic opportunity to benefit from this and play our part to tackle the climate emergency whilst restoring nature and improving the area for our residents.”

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