Cambridgeshire currently has one of the smallest areas in the country – relative to size – of land managed for nature. Natural Cambridgeshire wants to double that figure, from around 8% to 16% (which is the national average.
During an online event on September 16, 2020, attendees can hear from keynote speakers Dame Fiona Reynolds and Lord Chris Smith. Plus, they will discover further regional initiatives to protect, preserve and enhance the environment. These include key landscape projects, local nature recovery plans, individual pledges, and a look at the benefits of nature-friendly farming.
Natural Cambridgeshire will launch four crucial initiatives designed to deliver the doubling nature ambition:
1. A landscape-led approach, that will put Peterborough and Cambridgeshire firmly on the map of nature recovery as nature thrives across the county. Natural Cambridgeshire has identified five key landscapes with the potential to deliver significant benefits for nature and enhanced access to green open space for residents.
2. A community approach – a toolkit of small steps that each community can make to double nature close to home – for example, if every parish in the county planted ten trees a year for ten years that would be nearly 40,000 trees!
3. A doubling nature pledge through which individuals, businesses and other organisations can play their part in the ambition, whether it is planting more pollinating plants in gardens or greening up work-place car parks, there is something that everyone can do.
4. Natural Cambridgeshire will also be announcing plans for a Doubling Nature Investment Fund, to provide the resources to make all this happen.
The health and sustainability of our environment has never been so critical: the climate crisis and loss of biodiversity has been further exacerbated by the economic, health and social challenges created by Covid-19. However, the pandemic has also brought communities together and enabled people to rediscover a connection with the natural world.
Nature-based solutions will play a crucial role in addressing the challenges of our climate emergency and in the post Covid-19 recovery. A recent survey by Natural Cambridgeshire reveals how 77% of participants said that visiting parks and countryside in the region had been very important to them during lockdown.
The RSPB’s ‘Recovering Together’ report1 provides clear evidence of public support for putting nature at the heart of our pandemic recovery. 89% of those surveyed believe that increasing the amount of accessible nature-rich green space will help to improve people’s general health, wellbeing, and happiness.
Doubling nature will deliver significant protection, restoration, and enhancement of key wildlife habitats for the landscape we know and love. Improved green space and access to nature will help people to enjoy and appreciate the nature around them, leading to healthier and happier lives.
Doubling nature will create a more resilient countryside and communities, where nature is at the heart of our approach to tackling the climate emergency. It will support a green transport infrastructure, where priority is given to walkers, cyclists, and riders. Doubling nature will also influence sustainable farming practices and tourism.
The achievement of these objectives will create a better quality of life for residents and visitors through a local environment with easy access to rich and inspiring nature.
Lord Chris Smith says: “Over the past six months we’ve re-learned and re-discovered how vitally important our relationship with nature is, for all of us, and how it helps us to grow stronger, wiser and happier. That’s true on a global scale as we face the challenges of climate change; but it’s even more true on our doorstep, and there’s no better place to start than here in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.”
Dame Fiona Reynolds adds: “The urgent need to reverse nature’s decline is well known, but we are making desperately slow progress. The COVID-19 crisis has also shown us just how much we all need access to nature. The ambition to ‘double nature’ in Cambridgeshire could not be more timely or important.”
Richard Astle, Chairperson of Natural Cambridgeshire, explains: “Nature matters to us all – and Cambridgeshire and Peterborough have an opportunity to lead the way in helping nature to recover from its catastrophic local declines. Last year we set out the ambition of doubling nature. This year we are setting out detailed ideas for how we can all play our part in making that happen. And if we do, we can make our county an even better place to live, work, and visit. Doubling nature means more wildlife, it also means cleaner air and water and more places for people to walk, ride and cycle and enjoy green, open spaces.”
The ‘Doubling Nature in Action’ event will be held on Wednesday September 16, 10am-12.30pm, via Zoom. Attendees can register for the event here