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2022 / 2023 Edition

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Rishi Sunak visits Nosterfield Nature Reserve

Rishi Sunak

MP for Richmond (Yorks) sees wetland restoration boosted by government recovery grant

THE Chancellor of the Exchequer and MP for Richmond (Yorks), Rishi Sunak, has seen for himself how government funding has boosted nature conservation at North Yorkshire’s most important wetland habitat.

Mr Sunak visited Nosterfield Nature Reserve last week to join staff and volunteers working on a project to improve the habitat for plant life and birds in former sand and gravel quarries.

The reserve – 150 acres of wet grassland and open water between the Rivers Ure and Swale south of Bedale – benefited from a £133,000 grant from the Government’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund.

The Lower Ure Conservation Trust has used the cash to step up its work on a 100-acre extension to the reserve through the appointment of a full-time project officer and the recruitment of volunteers.

Mr Sunak joined Trust director Simon Warwick, project officer Emma Higgs, and volunteers on the reserve’s wetland project, which is recreating very rare habitats.

Through the propagation and planting of rare plant life, the environment will be improved further for the hundreds of species of animals, birds, and insects that have already been identified on the site.

Simon Warwick said: ‘We were pleased to show Mr Sunak what a difference the grant had made to our work.

‘The recruitment of Emma Higgs, our two interns Dan Silk and Gabriel Holmes, and Emma’s work to attract more volunteers has really boosted what we have been able to do on the reserve.

‘We now have around 20 volunteers attending our community work-days and the funding has made it possible to have a dedicated welfare unit so that the volunteers have access to some basic facilities while they are doing their fantastic work on the site.’

Mr Sunak said: ‘This is a very big task and it has been really encouraging to see how this funding has provided significant support and helped recruit many volunteers to get involved and engaged in a nature conservation and climate change project on their doorstep.

‘I commend the tremendous enthusiasm of everyone involved and I look forward to seeing how this work will bear fruit for wildlife and this unique reserve in the coming years.’

The Lower Ure Conservation Trust (LUCT) Swale and Ure Washlands project was one of the first environmental projects to be awarded a grant from the Government’s £80 million Green Recovery Challenge Fund.

The fund was set up to help create and retain thousands of green jobs as part of the nation’s recovery from the pandemic. The projects, spread across England, will see trees planted (800,000 in total) and protected landscapes and damaged habitats, such as moorlands, wetlands, and forests, restored, alongside wider conservation work. The projects will also support environmental education and connecting people with green spaces.

Additional financial help for the Nosterfield project has also come from quarry operators Tarmac, the Heritage Lottery Fund, Yorkshire Water, and the Local Nature Partnership.

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