Search to find new space for nature in South Downs

Search launched to find new space for nature in the South Downs

The National Park Authority is appealing for potential sites for wildlife as part of its 10-year drive to ‘ReNature’ the South Downs National Park,

It is inviting farmers, land managers, communities and conservation groups across the area to put forward possible sites where new natural habitats could be created, with proposals of any size to be considered.

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ReNature is a campaign that aims to raise £100m over the next 10 years to create an extra 13,000 hectares of habitat for plants and animals.

Authorities are appealing to find new wildlife habitats in the South Downs. Picture by Dick Hawkes. SUS-210511-104303001

Andrew Lee, director of Countryside Policy and Management at the National Park Authority, said, “As world leaders gather to discuss the colossal environmental challenges facing our planet, we’re taking decisive action at a regional scale in the South East of England.

“This appeal is a key element of our #ReNature campaign as we need to identify possible sites where wildlife can flourish once again.

“We have big ambitions. This is about taking places not currently managed for wildlife and specifically managing them for the benefit of nature. It’s a first pilot round to see what ideas come forward, and we expect the initiative to adapt and evolve over the next decade, with more appeals for sites likely in the future.”

The organisation will not be looking to acquire land as part of the process. Instead, it has said it will work with existing landowners and communities, offering specialist guidance to develop projects and connect with available funding opportunities.

A spokesperson for the authority said that the South Downs National Park currently has 25 per cent of the land managed for nature. The additional 13,000 hectares would bring this to 33 per cent of land managed for nature – going beyond current UN-backed conservation targets.

Landowners and land managers can find out more about the Call for Nature Sites by visiting www.southdowns.gov.uk/CallForNatureSites