The government is doubling the funding for the Green Recovery Challenge Fund to create and retain thousands of green jobs across England as well as support the creation of new national parks.
It is part of the government’s plans to help kickstart the nation’s green recovery, including the expansion of protected landscapes, increased access to nature and stronger flood resilience.
The announcement supports the prime minister’s Ten Point Plan, which confirms new National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) will be created as well as 10 Landscape Recovery projects.
The government will start the formal process of designation of the new National Parks and AONBs, which will involve identifying the best candidates, looking at how new sites contribute to the wider goals for nature, beauty, heritage and people.
The initiative takes the UK closer to protecting 30% of land by 2030 and extending protections by 1.5% in England.
The additional £40 million will support the next round of the Green Recovery Challenge Fund to support and retain jobs in areas including tree planting, environmental education and the restoration of damaged habitats, such as peatlands and wetlands.
Environment Secretary George Eustice said: “We are committed to driving forward a green revolution as we build back better and greener from the pandemic and the Ten Point Plan provides a crucial vehicle to help us shape a cleaner and more resilient society.
“Our Green Recovery Challenge Fund received an overwhelming response and this additional funding will help support even more environmental projects to help tackle the nature and climate crisis.”