Chester Zoo plans to create a 10-mile Nature Recovery Corridor to restore grasslands, wetlands, traditional orchards, hedgerows and wildflower meadows across Cheshire.
The Nature Recovery Corridor will stretch from Chester to Ellesmere Port, with the zoo collaborating with various partners to restore a network of wildlife-rich habitats.
The project will be inclusive and will provide access to nature for some of the most deprived areas in Cheshire West and Chester, as well as opportunities for youth traineeships and a community volunteer programme.
“Chester Zoo is making transformative change to prevent extinction,” said Simon Dowell, science director at Chester Zoo. “Our new Nature Recovery Corridor will empower people to create safe spaces for UK wildlife, through collaboration and action.
Chester Zoo restoring wildlife-rich habitats
“This grant will enable us to create more environmental jobs, demonstrating the value of green recovery in Cheshire, nurture a new generation of conservationists through funded traineeships, and allow wide-ranging local communities to connect with, and enjoy, wildlife.”
The first phase of the ambitious project focuses on a 6.5-mile stretch running from Chester Zoo‘s nature reserve through Chester city centre to the Lache housing estate.
The project has been awarded a £990,500 grant from the government’s £40m second round of the Green Recovery Challenge Fund, an £80m boost for green jobs and nature recovery.
Backed by the Green Recovery Challenge Fund, 90 nature projects across England have been awarded grants up to £1.9m to create and retain more than 1,000 green jobs.
Nature Recovery Corridor awarded grant
Alongside the first round of the fund, nearly a million trees will be planted as part of the government’s commitment to treble tree planting rates across England.
“As the world faces a biodiversity crisis, the role of large charity zoos like ours in securing a future for wildlife on our planet is ever more vital,” Dowell added.
“With one million species at risk of extinction, including many here in the UK, never has there been a more pressing time to stand together for nature.”
Earlier this year, Chester Zoo unveiled an ambitious ‘Conservation Masterplan’, which aims to tackle the world’s climate and conservation emergencies by 2030.
Images: Chester Zoo