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NRT receives £885,400 of Green Recovery Challenge Funds in significant boost for two chalk streams

Norfolk Rivers Trust, in partnership with the Norfolk Coast Partnership, has secured £885,400 from the Green Recovery Challenge Fund to restore the Hun and Stiffkey river catchments

Ninety nature projects across England have been awarded grants as part of the second phase of the Government’s £80 million Green Recovery Challenge Fund*. The projects, which cover 600 sites from North Northumberland to the tip of Cornwall, range from creating new ‘insect pathways’ to tree planting projects in urban areas – contributing towards the Government’s commitment to treble tree planting rates across England by the end of this Parliament.

The grant awarded to Norfolk Rives Trust (NRT) and the Norfolk Coast Partnership (AONB) will launch a new project titled ‘Norfolk’s Two Chalk Rivers – Restored, Revitalised, Resilient’, which will run until 2023.

The partnership project will deliver 20 km of river restoration on the Hun and Stiffkey – two rare chalk rivers of international importance (with only 210 chalk streams worldwide). A range of nature-based solutions – from wetlands and ponds to tree and reedbed planting – will be enhanced and created to improve water quality, biodiversity and habitat connectivity and complexity, with the added benefit of capturing carbon and mitigating the impacts of climate change.

An important element of the project is around public engagement and the development of new skills for local people. A comprehensive community plan has been created, and this includes a variety of training workshops including filmmaking, species identification surveys and riverfly monitoring, along with many opportunities for volunteers. In addition, the project will provide 6 local jobs and 4 kickstart placements (for 16–24-year-olds).

David Diggens, Chief Executive Officer of NRT, said:

“Together with our partners, we’re more than delighted to receive this magnificent grant which will enable us to deliver an ambitious and significant landscape-scale restoration project to enhance these two river catchment areas in North Norfolk as part of the Green Recovery. This funding comes at a crucial time when our water environments have been overwhelmed by a number of threats including pollution, development, climate change and biodiversity loss.”

River Stiffkey at Wighton (Credit: Jack Perks)

Mayfly on the Stiffkey (Credit: Jack Perks)

The grant will provide greater value to another recent ‘win’ for the Stiffkey, with NRT securing a further £70,000 to explore the application of an ‘environmental impact bond’ to reduce phosphates and other pollutants entering the river, using natural capital solutions, while generating revenue in the form of ‘phosphate credits’.

This project is funded by the Government’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund. The fund was developed by Defra and its Arm’s-Length Bodies. It is being delivered by The National Lottery Heritage Fund in partnership with Natural England, the Environment Agency and Forestry Commission.

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