A FUNDING injection of £25 million is to be allocated to 20 conservation project across the country, with ‘Bogs and Bitterns: Somerset wetland restoration’ getting a share.

The scheme Bog and Bitterns is headed up by Somerset Wildlife Trust and will be receiving a share of the £25 million Species Survival Fund.

The ambition for the Species Survival Fund is to restore as much critical habitats for wildlife as possible, adding up to 3,300 hectares in areas such as Atlantic rainforest, grasslands, woodlands, and wetlands which equates to the size of York.

It’s hoped that thousands of species could benefit from the funding, where species like lapwings, water voles and dragonflies should benefit from the project and will restore saltmarsh, hedgerows and heathlands.

Head of Nature Recovery at Somerset Wildlife Trust, Simon Clarke, said: “The natural environment is at a critical crossroads.”

He continues: “It’s vital that we are able to strengthen the county’s nature recovery network by focussing on these key, and vulnerable ‘stepping stone’ sites in the Avalon Marshes.

“To provide a range of resilient habitats that can continue to support a range of species and that can deliver the high functioning ecosystems that we know that will enable us to tackle climate change. We’re really delighted to have been awarded these funds and are looking forward to engaging with the local communities to explore ways that they can get involved."

The government has set out targets to protect 30% of land for nature by 2030 and on the Somerset Levels, 50 hectares of wetland habitat will be restored.

£3 million of grants have been awarded to various projects run by wildlife charities, farmers, and community groups to accelerate nature recovery, the fund is being delivered by The National Lottery Heritage Fund on behalf of Defra.

Rebecca Pow, Environment Minister, said: “The funding awarded today as part our flagship Species Survival Fund will enable local authorities, landowners, farmers, and our protected landscapes organisations to restore nature at scale and provide valuable green jobs in the process.

“Only by creating bigger and better habitats for wildlife will we be able to halt the alarming decline in species loss.”

Chief Executive at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, Eilish McGuinness, said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with Defra again to distribute funding for these projects, which will support nature recovery by helping to boost the quality and quantity of wildlife-rich habitats across England.”