Over £8m National Lottery grant will transform Great Fen

Prince Charles on a visit to Great Fen. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

The Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire confirmed in 2019 that Prince Charles had extended his patronage of the Great Fen for a further five-year term. Prince Charles on a visit to Great Fen. - Credit: Archant

More than £8 million has been awarded to an environmental project aimed at transforming part of the Cambridgeshire Fens. 

‘Peatland Progress: A New Vision for the Fens’, based at the Great Fen, is one of five projects in the UK to have received funding through the Heritage Horizon award, part of the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

The project will aim to tackle climate change, biodiversity loss and bring together the north and south halves of the Great Fen, in a bid to change farming practice on peat soils across the UK. 

Kate Carver, project manager at Great Fen run by the Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire, said: "We want to show people that climate change is being tackled and empowering them to take action.” 

The initiative will focus on sustainable wet farming to lower carbon emissions and prevent soil erosion by locking in carbon, as well as improving water quality. 

The project also aims to connect young people experiencing mental health issues through nature, including training opportunities and community activities. 

Ms Carver added: “Our project tackles some of the biggest challenges of the day - climate change, biodiversity loss and the anxieties of the next generation in our post-Covid world.   

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“Peatland Progress will bring genuine improvement to people’s lives, and to make sure that happens we’ll be talking to our local communities over the next year to make sure we get it right.” 

By investing in the Great Fen, award organisers believe it will aid the sector’s recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Grants of up to £12.4m have been awarded to three environment projects, including Peatland Progress, the UK’s first Marine Park in Plymouth and a large-scale partnership project to preserve the Cairngorms National Park in Scotland. 

Anne Jenkins, director for the midlands and east region of England for the National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: "This project is an innovative approach to peatland management, farming and restoration of the land.  

“Not only does it deliver transformative and ambitious ways of managing the Great Fen for people and wildlife, but also of combatting climate change and carbon emissions.”