The local nature partnership Natural Cambridgeshire has announced plans to double the area of natural green space in Cambridge and Peterborough by 2050.
The partnership, which includes local authorities, charities, housing developers and statutory agencies like Natural England and the Environment Agency, wants to double wildlife habitats and green space in the county from 8.5% to 17% in the next 30 years.
Launching the ‘Doubling Nature’ project, the organisation said enhancing Cambridgeshire’s natural spaces will not only benefit the environment, but people and businesses in the county.
Richard Astle, Chair of Natural Cambridgeshire said, ‘Cambridgeshire and Peterborough have some very attractive landscapes and many special areas designated for their rich wildlife. But our natural environment faces significant challenges.
‘We have fewer areas of nature rich land than most other counties. And this matters in the context of the climate emergency that we are well aware of now.
‘A doubling of nature is a critical part of responding to the climate challenge, with nature providing an essential role in our ability to mitigate and adapt to climate change.
‘If we act now and put nature at the heart of our area’s growth agenda, we have an opportunity to reverse that trend and ensure that people and nature thrive together.’
According to Natural Cambridgeshire, Cambridgeshire faces significant challenges over the coming years as it is in the driest part of England, with few natural water resources.
The county also faces a growing population, increasing flood risks and low proportions of land under management for nature.
By incorporating environmental net gain into Cambridgeshire’s growth, it can improve communities’ health and access to green spaces, as well as the county’s air quality and flood resilience, it said.
The partnership aims to make sure all new building and work place developments in Cambridgeshire include high quality green infrastructure, while encouraging at least 25% of existing property owners to incorporate wildlife into their gardens and land.
It will also aim to enlarge Cambridgeshire’s existing natural reserves, such as its two areas of existing natural fen and wetlands either side of the Ouse and Nene washes.
Tony Juniper, Chair of Natural England, said: ‘Climate change and biodiversity loss are two of the biggest challenges facing our generation. It is absolutely essential that development delivers a better natural environment alongside economic growth.
‘I therefore strongly support the ambition here in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough to do just that and great partnership taking place across different sectors to make it happen.’
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