Mark Nicholson, Cornwall Wildlife Trust’s Chair of Trustees says,
“It is hugely exciting to see a Government plan that is so closely aligned to the Trust’s own strategic plan and Cornwall’s ambition as a whole to achieve Environmental Growth. Our challenge to the Government is now to back up the proposals with watertight legislation to make sure they become reality. The Trust is already delivering significant land-based and marine projects working constructively with farmers, fishermen, landowners, volunteers and the local community in the county to enhance nature and benefit businesses. This is in addition to managing its own nature reserves in Cornwall which total over 2000 hectares.”
Innovative and far-reaching work to protect wildlife and wild places is happening across many parts of Cornwall and the Government’s 25 year plan could be instrumental in these projects leading to a situation where putting the environment first becomes mainstream. A key aim of the Defra plan is to provide clean and plentiful water. Cornwall Wildlife Trust is currently working with farmers to reduce pollution of rivers and streams in seven project areas across the county to protect the quality of our drinking water and bathing waters. The Trust has collaborated with the marine fisheries industry to develop the Cornwall Good Seafood Guide, a county approach to delivering the Government’s stated aim of using resources from nature more sustainably.
Re-connecting people with nature so that society can enjoy the physical and mental health benefits provided by the natural world is another aim of the Defra plan. The Trust provides free public access to most of its nature reserves so they can be enjoyed by local communities.
Callum Deveney, Head of Nature Reserves at the Trust says,
“The Trust and many other landowners in Cornwall collectively want to provide a network of sites suitable for running health walks and other aspects of natural prescribing. Up to now, the mechanisms for delivering this have not been available, but with Government backing, we may be able to make this a reality for Cornwall.”
Another way in which the plan acknowledges the value of nature to society is through mitigating the impacts of flooding and drought. Beaver reintroduction may be one approach to this and the Government is giving permission for more fenced trials. Cornwall Beaver Project, a partnership between Cornwall Wildlife Trust, Woodland Valley farm and the University of Exeter is one of several existing beaver trials studying the potential of beaver dams to hold back flood water, create new wetland habitats and filter out pollutants.