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HomeNewsEast SussexSouth Downs launches new business-based nature recovery scheme

South Downs launches new business-based nature recovery scheme

The South Downs has become the first National Park in the UK to open up a formal scheme for voluntary biodiversity gain to the private sector – meaning that firms of any size across England can invest in high-ethic, effective nature recovery.

The announcement was made on 23 May as delegates from across the sector gathered at the National Park’s headquarters for a summit on ways to accelerate nature recovery through green finance.

The Voluntary Biodiversity Credits scheme is the latest among a growing package of green finance measures being offered by the South Downs National Park Authority.

Over 500 hectares – equivalent to more than 800 football pitches – of land on farms and country estates across Hampshire and Sussex have already been earmarked for biodiversity restoration through future green finance investment.

Harting Down in South Downs National Park by Sam Moore
Harting Down in South Downs National Park by Sam Moore

Tim Slaney, Chief Executive (Interim) at the South Downs National Park [pictured], said: “This is a first for UK National Parks and underlines our commitment to tackling the biodiversity crisis through innovation. We have a real opportunity in the UK to turn the tide on nature depletion and tackle the climate crisis through nature-based solutions, but we’ve got to act quickly and decisively. With National Parks covering almost 10 per cent of England’s land mass, places like the South Downs National Park can, and should be, the driving force behind nature recovery. In the UK, 41 per cent of species have declined in abundance over the past 40 years, so we’re at a pivotal moment.

Tim Slaney Chief Executive (Interim) South Downs National Park.
Tim Slaney Chief Executive (Interim) South Downs National Park.

“There is now a real appetite across the corporate sector to demonstrate first-class environmental integrity, meet national targets and invest in the planet for future generations and that’s exactly what Voluntary Biodiversity Credits can deliver. National Parks have to seize this moment and capitalise on this tremendous opportunity to enable nature to bounce back,” he added.

“This growing desire to invest in the environment dovetails with an ever-expanding need in the land and farming sector to diversify and find new revenue streams. Both sectors can work harmoniously together, and national parks can be the facilitators.

For more on Voluntary Biodiversity Credits and other green finance initiatives in the South Downs National Park click here.

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