Wildlife ‘superhighway’ backed by Metro Mayor

Connecting habitats between the Mendip Hills and the Cotswolds to create a “superhighway” for birds, bees and other animals has been given the thumbs up by Metro Mayor Dan Norris.

West of England Nature Partnership’s Ian Barrett met the Mayor to explain how the limestone peaks of the Mendip Hills in the east and Cotswolds Scarp surrounding Bath in the west both have international designation status, but the landscape in between is not as nature friendly.

But the multi-million-pound ‘Limestone Link’ project, led by the West of England Nature Partnership, aims to change all that. Along the 36-mile route passing by Radstock, Midsomer Norton and Peasedown St John, habitats will be restored and rivers cleaned up so West of England birds, insects and fish can travel seamlessly between these two protected areas

The ambitious plan includes planting more than 200 hectres of woodland to support squirrels, lesser-spotted woodpeckers and horseshoe bats, as well as lichens, mosses and insects, and over 100 hectres of wildflower-rich habitats to support bees.

Metro Mayor Dan Norris said: “There is a climate and biodiversity emergency that requires leadership and action. Thankfully, we in the West of England are getting on with the job of fighting the climate crisis and supporting nature’s recovery. This is a really exciting project to make the area between the Mendip Hills and Cotswolds the beating heart of nature recovery in the region, expanding wildlife corridors and the outdoor spaces that people can use to walk their dogs, ramble, picnic and cycle throughout our great region, with all of the health benefits this brings”.

West of England Nature Partnership Chair Ian Barrett said: “The Limestone Link is an excellent demonstration of landscape-scale ambition to recover nature and of the partnership working that is needed to address the ecological emergency. We need big, connected areas of habitat to enable wildlife to thrive and adapt to climate change; creating a nature-rich landscape between the Mendip Hills and Cotswolds is exactly the type of visionary project needed to achieve this”.

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