They have joined forces to launch a new £6 million Network for Nature programme that will improve habitats across the Midlands, benefitting people, nature and wildlife.
Herefordshire Wildlife Trust is heading up the Lugg valley landscape project to improve connectivity between a wetland complex of more than 20 lakes alongside the A49 near Leominster.
New wetland will be crarted at Oak Tree Farm nature reserve for threatened lapwing and curlew. Riverside fields will becoming a stepping stone between two of the most important county sites for wetland birds. Sustainable, natural drainage will be created next to an A49 outfall which will aid water filtration running from the nearby road network before it enters the River Lugg site of special scientific interest.
The projects will help create, restore and connect places for wildflowers, trees and wildlife, where the environment has been impacted by activities from previous road building. Natural solutions such as wetlands and reedbeds will help filter polluted run-off from roads.
One project will see new wetland created in the Lugg Valley in Herefordshire, becoming a stepping stone for wildlife between two of the most important sites for wetland birds in the county - Bodenham Lake nature reserve and Wellington Gravel Pits - reducing pollution entering the River Lugg and creating sustainable drainage pools close to the A49.
Regional Operations Director for the Midlands, Andrew Jinks, said: "In England, the roadside estate is vast and yet is adjacent to some of our most precious habitats. When situated alongside linear infrastructure, such as motorways, habitats can create crucial corridors for pollinating insects, birds and small mammals, enabling wildlife to move through the wider landscape.
“We’re committed to significantly improving biodiversity near our road network, and this investment in the Midlands underlines our commitment to reducing the impact of our roads on the environment and supporting biodiversity.
“At National Highways, our work goes beyond operating, maintaining and improving roads; we’re investing in the environment and communities surrounding our network, helping to unlock the creation and enhancement of habitats, and this is an example of the difference we can make with designated funding.
Nikki Robinson, Network for Nature Programme Manager for The Wildlife Trusts said: “Historic road building programmes have contributed to nature’s decline, fragmenting wild spaces and causing environmental pollution, and this programme will help Wildlife Trusts throughout England carry out important nature conservation work, and contribute to a national Nature Recovery Network, connecting town and countryside, and joining up vital places for wildlife, and promoting landscape scale connectivity.”