Rewilding project nears completion

Locals enjoying one of the sites in the Making Space for Nature scheme

A Cornish construction consultancy will finalise Cornwall Council’s Making Space for Nature programme next month, which has seen the transformation of 34 hectares of urban green desert into ecologically diverse and wildlife-friendly spaces.

Mace Ward Williams Joint Venture (MWJV) has led the £3.3 million three-year programme, also known as the Green Infrastructure for Growth 2 scheme. It has been funded in part by the European Regional Development Fund and with match funding from Cornwall Council and the University of Exeter and is a direct response to Cornwall’s climate and ecological emergency.

Darren Mountford, MWJV’s contract manager on the project, said: “After the success of the first Green Infrastructure for Growth phase, MWJV was commissioned in late 2019 to support this second phase with contract and project management. Our role has included budget management, procurement, commercial and contractual administration, risk management, reporting and site inspections.

“Through our management the project has been helping with the return of nature across Cornwall, creating healthy habitats where wildlife like bees, butterflies and hedgehogs can thrive and allowing the natural rebalancing of ecosystems to take place.”

The programme has encompassed 27 different sites across nine towns in Cornwall. The sites include recreation grounds, edges of sports fields, parks, verges, and church yards.

The scheme has included the planting of 50,000sq m of wildflower meadows, 8,200sq m of pollinator friendly planting, 490 trees planted, 173 habitat boxes installed and the active engagement of over 10,500 residents. It has resulted in 19+ tonnes of carbon sequestered and a net biodiversity gain of 9.5%.

Several programme partners have been involved in the project with MWJV liaising with experts from the University of Exeter, Cornwall Wildlife Trust, the Environment Agency, Cornwall Housing, Historic England and several others to create the most sustainable and effective planting and management plans.