1 in 5 councils committed to rewilding policies

One in five county councils have brought in rewilding policies on public land, according to a joint investigation by the Guardian and wildlife magazine Inkcap Journal.

43 councils in England, Wales and Scotland have launched rewilding projects or are planning schemes in areas such as former golf courses, post-industrial scrubland and recovering waterways.

A recent YouGov survey has already identified an overwhelming support for rewilding amongst the British public, across genders, age groups, party allegiances and social backgrounds.

The Guardian and the Inkcap Journal asked 206 county councils and single tier authorities about their rewilding plans.

herd of sheep on green grass field during daytime

It was discovered that many are finding ways to create schemes which work with the local area, while others are launching new projects in consultation with citizens from the area.

This includes North Somerset council, which has committed to rewilding ‘as much land as possible’, after declaring a nature emergency in 2019.

In Scotland, an industrialised river channel in East Renfrewshire is being reconnected to its natural floodplain and two 18th-century weirs, to allow salmon to travel upstream for the first time since the Victorian period.

It was also found that many councils have opted to avoid using the term ‘rewilding’ in their plans, as it can be controversial amongst farmers.

Birmingham city council said the term was not accurate to describe the projects they were starting, as it could be understood as the total restoration of ecosystems, meaning lynx, wolves, bison and beavers would need to be reintroduced.

Instead, it announced it had launched several landscape-scale conservation projects, including moves to improve water quality and connectivity in the city’s rivers to support the return of otters.

Out of the 206 county councils questioned, 28 said they had started rewilding projects and 15 said they planned to do so, mainly across England and Scotland, with Wales accounting for just three.

Photo by Illiya Vjestica


Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Help us break the news – share your information, opinion or analysis
Back to top