The National Rural Conference 2024

The Rural Services Network (RSN) is thrilled to announce the National Rural Conference 2024, taking place from 16th to 19th September. This virtual event, accessible via Zoom, is the premier gathering for senior officers, members, policymakers, and rural service professionals.
Further information and booking details can be found here

Cornwall still feeling the legacy of G7 event

Two years after world leaders descended on Cornwall for the G7 event, more than 40 nature recovery projects are underway.

The G7 Legacy Project for Nature Recovery is a five-year plan based in mid-Cornwall and is run in partnership with Natural England and Cornwall Wildlife Trust. In its first two years, £1.6m has gone into 42 projects, which will improve the prospects for nature in the area and also create sustainable jobs.

The project has also supported new green apprenticeships, worked with businesses to promote sustainable tourism and encouraged hundreds of people to volunteer in their local communities and to get out and about in the countryside.

The first two years of the project has seen over 1,000 additional hectares of private and public land managed for nature restoration, 18 metres of Cornish hedge restored, research done on reducing seabird bycatch numbers through new prevention measures, a reduction in flooding with river restoration and links to surrounding wet woodland created, improved management of wildlife habitats on farms and blue carbon reports on seagrass in St Austell Bay. For people who want to experience more of the area, there has been 10km of trail improvement and nearly 1,700 people have been involved in 370 volunteering and engagement events.

Among the projects are:

  • G7 project leveraged £750K of cabinet funding that matched public donations allowing Cornwall Wildlife Trust to acquire the 97acre Creney Farm in Mid- Cornwall. This land brings the CWT Mid-Cornwall reserve to 735 acres (with Helman Tor, Redmor and Breney Common) which will become an exemplar for nature restoration and regenerative farming.
  • 25 farms were advised for nature recovery outcomes through whole farm plans. Conversations with the landowners are ongoing with a grant pot available and volunteers on hand to support potential countryside stewardship applications and environmental improvement including pollination, reduction of run off, herbal lays and sustainable grazing.
  • At Goss Moor National Nature Reserve work included improvement of the multi-use trail, resilience work concentrating on the Marsh Fritillary butterfly and Willow Tit and inclusion of volunteer and social prescribed activities.
  • G7 has garnered a collaborative partnership with one of the largest landowners in the Mid Cornwall area. Imerys has a long-term vision to restore and create large swathes of industrial land including reducing run off, tree planting, grassland creation and scrub clearance. This also includes over 10km of new public pathways improving access to nature for nearby villages.
  • Marine nature recovery is an important element of G7 – projects include a collaborative partnership led by the RSPB to research reduction in bird bycatch within the St Austell Bay designated area through the use of marker buoys.
  • The Blue Carbon report undertook baseline surveys to assess the extent and condition of marine habitats in St Austell Bay. The largest seagrass bed in the UK at 359ha was discovered leading to ongoing research at a national level.

Marian Spain, Chief Executive of Natural England, said:

“Cornwall is renowned for its beautiful and varied landscape, home to a rich diversity of wildlife, including rare species like the red-billed chough, which form part of the county’s identity. Its vibrant natural heritage is one of the reasons that millions of people choose to visit this wonderful part of England every year.

“But, over the last 50 years, Cornwall, like the rest of the UK, has suffered depletion of species both on land and at sea. This project, a legacy of the G7 summit hosted in Carbis Bay, aims to work with local communities to help stem the loss by delivering real improvements for wildlife across a swathe of mid Cornwall and in St Austell bay. It will do this by reconnecting habitats and ecosystems, conserving and even reintroducing rare species, while improving water quality and capturing carbon. The end result will be a huge boost for the environment, wildlife and all those who live in Cornwall or who love to visit to experience this stunning and dramatic county.

“The benefits of the projects are not just for nature, though. They have led to new apprenticeship jobs, we’re working with the tourism sector looking at the possibility of sustainable tourism opportunities and many local people have taken up the chance to learn new skills and meet new people by volunteering on the projects.”

Alongside the G7 scheme, there are numerous projects around the country which aim to establish and expand the national nature recovery network, helping to deal with biodiversity loss, climate change and wellbeing.

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