Thousands more hectares for wildlife

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Nearly 20,000 hectares of natural habitat - the equivalent of 23,000 football pitches - has been created, restored or preserved across England since 2013, thanks to an innovative £7.5 million government project.

The three-year initiative saw local authorities, communities, conservation groups and the private sector come together to improve local areas in both rural and urban locations.

Environment Minister Rory Stewart said: “Our beautiful natural environment is vitally important to our national identity. By combining government investment with community action, these 12 Nature Improvement Areas have delivered real results for local environments and have built a justifiable sense of pride - bringing an astonishing 47,000 days of volunteer time to the natural world.

“We owe a huge thanks to the many people who made these projects possible. We must now look to make sure these remarkable results are long lasting and help to connect the British public with nature. The work of the Nature Improvement Areas will be central to how we think about the environment over the next twenty-five years.”