The Government has announced plans to reverse the decline in biodiversity in Cornwall by “launching a major land restoration and regeneration programme across 21,000 hectares of land”.

In partnership with Natural England and the Cornwall Wildlife Trust, the project involves planting trees, restoring peat, making improvements to water quality, recreating scarce habitats and reintroducing lost and declining species such as dormice and the marsh fritillary butterfly.

This restoration will provide a “huge boost” to Cornwall’s efforts to become the first net zero region in the UK. Reforestation and the restoration of wetlands through the project will take an estimated 440,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.

To help Cornwall reach net zero faster, the Government has also announced a package of measures to help individuals and companies take steps to reduce their carbon footprint.

This includes:

  • Up to £1 million of innovation funding earmarked for businesses in Cornwall to support their development of technologies, products and processes in energy efficiency, power generation and energy storage.
  • Establishing Cornwall as a pilot area for a new e-bike support scheme – e-bikes are the only electric vehicles not to receive grants at present.
  • Subject to full business case approval, Cornwall will also receive up to £150k to design and build ‘Kernosat’, a small satellite which will be used to monitor the local environment, with the potential for it to be launched from a UK spaceport next year.

The announcement was made yesterday (June 8) along with the news that three Cornish towns are to receive £65 million as part of the Government’s Towns Deal.

The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, said: “As the eyes of the world look to Cornwall this week, not only will they see an area of outstanding beauty, they will witness a region that is innovative, exciting and looking firmly towards a bright future.

“The exciting projects we have announced today are a fitting legacy for a region playing host to some of the most important diplomatic talks in a generation. As the world builds back better from coronavirus, Cornwall will lead the way.”

Cornwall Wildlife Trust chief executive, Carolyn Cadman, added: “The beauty of Cornwall’s coasts and countryside often masks the pressures which nature faces here, and this announcement is a welcome step forward. This builds on the nature recovery work which we and many local businesses and partners in the public and voluntary sectors are undertaking.

“We know that with additional investment and strong environmental laws and protection, Cornwall Wildlife Trust and partners can help deliver bigger, better managed and more joined-up wildlife habitats for nature to thrive. We hope the G7 nature recovery legacy project will also help to attract significant new investment to support urgent efforts across the partnership to tackle climate change and reverse the decline in nature.”