Combined Authority provides £1m funding to Natural Cambridgeshire to build local capacity to green investment
The CPCA area has one of the lowest proportions of rich wildlife and natural greenspaces in the UK. However, it does have areas of national and international importance for nature, including distinctive habitats and landscapes, largely managed by a vibrant agricultural sector that is important economically and for food security.
Natural Cambridgeshire, as the Local Nature Partnership for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, recognised this issue and developed the Doubling Nature ambition. The aim of the programme is to attract additional investment into nature-based projects, building local capacity in green investment, and deliver projects on the ground across the CPCA area.
The Combined Authority has endorsed Natural Cambridgeshire’s Vision for Doubling Nature, and this was reinforced by the recommendations of the Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Independent Commission on Climate, which identified nature as making an important contribution to climate change mitigation and adaptation. The Natural Capital Committee has made clear recommendations on the need to protect, enhance and invest in the natural environment, while the Government’s 25-year Environment Plan sets out bold ambitions for nature recovery, and net biodiversity and environmental gain through development.
The £1m fund will test the proposition that there is an appetite for private/third sector investment in nature and nature-based solutions to tackle other problems. Through pilot projects the Fund will test the barriers and opportunities to this approach.
The nature projects will provide benefits through their enhancements in nature, in line with the ambition to double the amount of Cambridgeshire’s rich wildlife habitats and natural green space from 8% to 16%. Depending on the project there could also be job increases attributed to the intervention.
Combined Authority Mayor, Dr Nik Johnson, said:
“This is an exciting project which strongly aligns with objectives of the Sustainable Growth Ambition Statement to restore the area’s depleted natural capital and address the impact of climate change on our low-lying area’s special vulnerabilities. By enhancing the natural areas with public access (and increase beneficial health outcomes), the project will also deliver against the Statement’s human capital objective to raise both productivity and the quality of life, so that that people in our region are healthy and able to pursue the jobs and lives they want. I’m looking forward to seeing the plan develop and the exciting projects that are created as a result.”
Pamela Abbott, Partnership Director for Natural Cambridgeshire, said:
“We are delighted to have the support of this funding from the CPCA to take us towards Natural Cambridgeshire’s goal of doubling nature. The fund aims to catalyse innovation and promote entrepreneurial approaches in delivering action for nature. We hope that the fund will inspire collaboration and encourage partnership projects which create and expand wildlife-rich places to bring back nature across one of the UK’s most nature depleted counties.”
Natural Cambridgeshire are now inviting expressions of interest from applicants with ideas for innovative and collaborative landscape-scale projects that will benefit the six priority landscapes across the county. Proposals will be prioritised financially and environmentally with sustainable projects that bring significant match funding and those that can generate a revenue stream given greatest priority.
In addition to funding large-scale projects, £100k of the Fund has been set aside for small community nature projects located in all areas of the county and details of how to apply will be circulated in due course.