Plans to create thousands of new jobs to kick-start the nation’s green recovery from the coronavirus pandemic were unveiled by the government today.
The £40 million Green Recovery Challenge Fund will bring forward funding to help charities and environmental organisations start work on projects across England to restore nature and tackle climate change.
The fund will help conservation organisations and their suppliers create up to 3,000 jobs and safeguard up to 2,000 others in areas such as protecting species, finding nature-based solutions to tackling climate change, conservation rangers and connecting people with the outdoors.
Environment Secretary George Eustice said:
Our ambitious green recovery package will deliver a steady stream of shovel-ready environmental projects, protecting nature at the same time as creating and retaining thousands of new jobs.
Many of us have become even more appreciative of nature during lockdown and our Green Recovery Challenge Fund will help charities and other organisations employ more people to work on tree-planting, nature restoration and helping the public enjoy the outdoors.
The Green Recovery Challenge Fund will be funded by the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs by bringing forward £10 million of money from the Nature Recovery Fund and £30 million of Nature for Climate Funding, so that the money can be spent now when it is most needed.
It is envisaged that the fund will create a broad range of short and long term jobs such as ecologists, surveyors, nature reserve staff and education workers in environment organisations; and support their suppliers in areas such as agricultural engineering, horticulture, and equipment and seed supply.
Organisations will be invited to bid to the fund and details will be set out in due course.
Natural England Chair Tony Juniper said:
Coronavirus has shown us even more starkly how vital access to a thriving natural environment is to everybody’s health and wellbeing. This new fund will kick start nature’s recovery by building partnerships across the country, in towns and cities and in rural areas.
It’s also an unprecedented opportunity to build new careers for people from all walks of life to create the environment we need for the future.
Today’s green recovery funding support formed part of a wider package to boost the economy announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson and “build back a greener and more beautiful Britain”.
The Prime Minister also re-iterated the government’s commitment to re-foresting Britain by planting 75,000 acres of trees every year by 2025, “creating a new patchwork of woodlands to enchant and re-energise the soul”. The Government is currently consulting on a new English Tree Strategy to expand tree cover, support woodland management and increase public engagement with trees and woodlands.