Pioneering project uncovers new ways to restore nature in National Parks
A pilot project aimed at bringing back lost biodiversity in two of the UK’s National Parks could pave the way for land managers to attract private finance for nature restoration schemes to help meet the UK’s emissions target of net zero by 2050.
Revere – a collaboration between National Parks UK and Palladium – has helped to deliver two projects in the New Forest and North York Moors National Parks funded by the Natural Environment Investment Readiness Fund (NEIRF). The projects concluded this autumn and have provided an opportunity for estate owners and farmers to understand the emerging market and explore how they can transform parts of their land for nature, while making a much-needed extra income.
The two National Parks involved in the project, the New Forest and the North York Moors, have both praised the 12-month project and say they are taking its learnings forward as they work to establish how their protected landscapes can be at the forefront of tackling the climate and nature emergencies in the UK.
Revere launched in October 2021 to catalyse private finance and create new working partnerships and projects across some of the best-loved protected landscapes in England, Scotland and Wales.
Andrew Sutherland, Director of Nature-based Solutions at Palladium, said: ‘Both case studies have provided so much insight into what can be done to restore nature in our National Parks. Not only have we learned a lot about the steps that can be taken to make a positive change for the land and the land managers, but we’ve also created relationships that I believe will lead to countless opportunities for people to come together and help us to benefit from these models and learnings.’
Throughout the NEIRF project, detailed studies of both National Parks were undertaken by the team at Revere, looking at a range of issues including polluted waterways, soil quality, habitat loss and climate change.
In the New Forest, the project concentrated on three large estates, Barker-Mill Estate, Cadland Estate, and Forestry England, all facing different opportunities and challenges from their natural assets. In the North York Moors, the Revere team worked with a cluster group of farmers in the Esk Valley, a landscape that includes moorland, farmland and grassland.
Olivia McGregor, Net Zero with Nature Programme Manager at the New Forest National Park Authority, said: ‘The project has been an interesting learning experience for us. It’s the first time we’ve had the chance to explore in detail what private finance has to offer in terms of funding nature restoration, and it’s helped us to understand what part it can play currently in our move towards net zero as a National Park.’
Briony Fox, Director of Nature and Climate Change at the North York Moors National Park Authority, said: ‘The pilot project has given us an important opportunity to further our understanding and explore the potential that may soon exist in the natural capital market. This is very much an emerging area, and there is still further work for us to do to establish how we best support our tenant farmers and land managers when it comes to accessing private finance to fund nature recovery activities and provide a sustainable income.
‘We are continuing to work with our farming community to ensure that its members are informed and ready for these opportunities as they arise, and we are grateful for the knowledge and understanding that the Revere project has afforded us.’
Both pilots have been completed and it is hoped the raft of results will enable the land managers and the UK’s National Parks to understand how the findings can be taken forward to implement change.
Naomi Conway, Director at National Parks Partnerships, said: ‘This has been an incredible learning process with hugely insightful results. The climate crisis means that National Parks want and need to engage in nature-based solutions and these pilots help us to learn, to share knowledge and to scale up.
‘There’s such a variety of landscape and land managers throughout the National Parks, all with their own wants and needs. Through Revere and the NEIRF project, we now have more local analysis that will us to meet our ambitions at the scale and pace needed.’
About National Parks UK
There are 15 National Parks in the UK, covering 10% of Great Britain. National Parks are visited over 100 million times each year. For more information www.nationalparks.uk
Palladium is a global impact firm, working to link social progress and commercial growth. For the past 54 years, it’s been helping clients to see the world as interconnected – by creating strategies, building partnerships, mobilising capital, and implementing programs that have a lasting social and financial impact. Palladium calls this “Positive Impact”.
It works with corporations, governments, investors, communities, and civil society. With a global network operating in over 90 countries, Palladium is in the business of making the world a better place. www.thepalladiumgroup.com