Natural Networks

Our projects

Natural Networks

Town Park by Hannah Thomas

We have a diverse range of wildlife-rich habitats across our beautiful county – from wetlands and woodlands to meadows and orchards.

With the ever-increasing pressures of climate change, intensive land management and development it is important to ensure that these biodiversity hotspots are connected and safeguarded – the development of a natural network of wildlife corridors is vital.

Natural Networks is a three-year partnership between Worcestershire Wildlife Trust and Worcestershire County Council and is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). It aims to help create and enhance these wildlife corridors across the county. Once registered, the programme team offers advice and grants, in a two-stage process, to projects that aim to restore wildlife-rich habitats.

What's on offer?

The Natural Networks programme could help enable your land to play its part in this revitalised landscape. We have over £1,000,000 to give away to applicants and we are tasked with creating or enhancing 44 hectares of habitat and remediating one hectare of contaminated land; this is an area of land equivalent in size to 45 international rugby pitches. The land can be linear, like a watercourse or road verge, or form a parcel of land such as a millennium green or open space on a business estate or town park.

It’s a great opportunity to deliver habitat improvements for wildlife on land that isn’t covered by other environmental grant schemes. The project team are on hand to help and can offer the following:

  1. Advice. Officers from Worcestershire Wildlife Trust will carry out a Biodiversity Enhancement Assessment, which aims to direct projects towards actions that enhance land for wildlife in the most appropriate way. The assessment involves looking for records of notable habitats and species in the area, surveying the current quality of the land for wildlife and presenting the findings and recommendations for future management in an in-depth written report.
  2. Grants. Staff from Worcestershire County Council can offer guidance on submitting an application for a grant of £2,000 - £200,000 (representing 45% of the total project cost) to help you carry out the recommendations suggested in the Biodiversity Enhancement Assessment. Your project will be presented to an appraisal panel, who will decide whether to award a Natural Networks grant. Payments will be made in arrears and applicants must demonstrate that they have completed works and obtained relevant planning permissions, drainage consents etc. prior to funds being disbursed. Funds must be disbursed before the end of June 2021.

Can I get involved?

The programme is aimed at small and medium businesses, parish councils, charities, voluntary groups and public bodies.

  • Project sites need to have free and ongoing public access or applicants must be willing to offer permissive access for the lifetime of the project.
  • Grants are aimed at land or interventions that are ineligible for Countryside Stewardship.

To learn more about the programme’s eligibility criteria and to register, please visit the County Council's Natural Networks page.

More advice and help with a grant application

Worcestershire County Council will check your eligibility for the scheme. Get in touch at sustainability@worcestershire.gov.uk

Worcestershire Wildlife Trust will then visit your site to carry out a Biodiversity Enhancement Assessment, evaluating its existing biodiversity value and recommending ways to enhance it. You can get in touch with our officers Sean and Jasmine

How is the project funded?

The project is funded by the European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. For more information, visit the European Growth Funding website.

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