The Wildlife Trusts launch £30 million appeal to kickstart nature’s recovery across 30% of land and sea by 2030

Today The Wildlife Trusts launch 30 by 30, a public appeal to raise £30 million to start putting nature into recovery across at least 30% of land and sea by 2030.
Red squirrel - Steve Wrightson

Image by: Steve Wrightson

Nature has suffered serious declines for decades with 26% of UK mammals in danger of disappearing altogether and hedgehogs, red squirrels, bats, turtle doves, cuckoo, water voles and basking sharks all at risk. It is not only individual species that are threatened; the collapse in the abundance of nature also means many of our ecosystems are not functioning, as they should.

Lack of wild places and fragmentation of those that remain has had a disastrous effect. Only 10% of land is protected in the UK and much of this is in poor condition. That’s why The Wildlife Trusts recently called on Government to introduce a new landscape designation for England called ‘Wildbelt.’ This would be for the purpose of putting land into nature’s recovery, such as through the creation of wildlife corridors, natural regeneration of woodland, restoration of wetlands, and rewilding.

The Wildlife Trusts’ 30 by 30 appeal asks people, individuals, corporates and communities to donate at www.wildlifetrusts.org/30-30-30.

Craig Bennett, Chief Executive of The Wildlife Trusts, said: “We’ve set ourselves an ambitious goal - to raise £30 million and kickstart the process of securing at least 30% of land and sea in nature’s recovery by 2030. We will buy land to expand and join-up our nature reserves; we’ll work with others to show how to bring wildlife back to their land, and we’re calling for nature’s recovery through a new package of policy measures including big new ideas like Wildbelt.

“The next ten years must be a time of renewal, of rewilding our lives, of green recovery. We all need nature more than ever and when we succeed in reaching 30 by 30 we’ll have wilder landscapes that store carbon and provide on-your-doorstep nature for people too. Everyone can support and help us to succeed.”

Funds raised by The Wildlife Trusts’ new 30 by 30 appeal will go towards nature recovery projects that will put new land aside for nature as well as repair and link-up existing, fragmented, wild areas to enable wildlife to move around. The aim is to bring nature everywhere, including to the places where people live.

Current extent of protected land and sea

About 10% of UK land is currently protected as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). Across the UK this divides as follows:

  • England has 8% of land protected as SSSI
  • Wales has 12% of land protected as SSSI
  • Northern Ireland has 8% of land protected as Areas of SSI
  • Scotland has 12.6% of land protected as SSSI

The 30 by 30 projects range from land acquisition to peatland repair and species reintroduction.

Mike Pratt, Northumberland Wildlife Chief Executive said: “We know that the UK is one of the most nature depleted countries in the world and we’re facing the dual crises of climate change and biodiversity loss. Put plainly, our wildlife is disappearing and at an alarming rate. Some of our most-loved species are threatened. We’re talking about hedgehogs, barn owls and red squirrels - not the exotic wildlife we think of when we talk about extinction. However, there is hope. The Wildlife Trusts have an ambitious plan to raise £30 million to heal at least 30% of our land and sea for nature so it can recover by 2030. We can all help them make it happen.”

Richard Walker, MD of Iceland and Ambassador for The Wildlife Trusts says: “During lockdown people across the country reconnected with the natural world around them, appreciating the positive impact nature had on their health and wellbeing. Now, as we start to recover, we need to put nature at the heart of our plans.

“For too long we’ve taken it for granted. The Wildlife Trusts are calling on every one of us - people, businesses, local authorities and government agencies - to join them in achieving this vision. By working together we can ensure 30% of the UK land and seas are restored and protected for nature’s recovery.

“As a leader in the business sector, I know that it’s my responsibility to help protect nature in the communities we serve. That’s why I’m supporting and working with The Wildlife Trusts having seen the benefits of their vital work across the country.”