BBOWT helps raise £25m to kickstart nature's recovery

BBOWT helps raise £25m to kickstart nature's recovery

Ludgershall Meadows. Picture: Kate Titford

BBOWT has helped raise more than £25 million to restore UK nature as part of The Wildlife Trusts’ national 30 x 30 campaign.

The campaign and appeal were launched a year ago, with the aim of raising £30m to put nature into recovery across at least 30% of land and sea by 2030. Today BBOWT and the 45 other local groups that make up The Wildlife Trusts can announce that they have raised more than £25 million in just 12 months. 

They can also reveal that Trusts across the UK have started work on more than 35 nature recovery projects to restore land for wildlife as part of the 30 x 30 vision.

Sheep grazing at Ludgershall Meadows. Picture: Andrew Marshall/ Go Wild Landscapes

Sheep grazing at Ludgershall Meadows. Picture: Andrew Marshall/ Go Wild Landscapes

Among those projects is BBOWT’s own fundraising appeal to buy and save Ludgershall Meadows near Bicester. That appeal has already raised more than £330,000 in public donations, smashing the record as the trust’s most-successful-ever public fundraising appeal. The Trust is now urgently seeking the rest of the £576,000 purchase price from grant-giving bodies to enable it to buy the land.

Estelle Bailey, Chief Executive of BBOWT, said:

“The UK is one of the most nature-depleted countries in the world, with once-common creatures such as hedgehogs, red squirrels and sparrows now critically endangered, and huge reductions in the abundance of wildlife. If we’re going to solve the nature and climate crisis, we need more nature everywhere – it’s that simple.  We need to create a network of sites where species can live and thrive. Ludgershall Meadows would be a vital piece in that giant wild jigsaw puzzle.

“We’ve been amazed by the public’s generosity in our Ludgershall appeal and the £25m already raised nationally in this appeal proves how passionately the British public care about and want to protect our natural environment. Sadly, our Government is dragging its heels – with further delays to the long-awaited Environment Bill and a lack of detailed biodiversity planning for HS2. Parliament needs to wake up and recognise what our hugely successful fundraising means: the people of this country want them to do much, much more for nature.”

An overgrown pond at Ludgershall Meadows. Picture: Andrew Marshall/ Go Wild Landscapes

An overgrown pond at Ludgershall Meadows. Picture: Andrew Marshall/ Go Wild Landscapes

The Government launched a ‘30 by 30 vision’ on the same day as The Wildlife Trusts a year ago – but believes that far more land is protected for nature than is the reality.

The Wildlife Trusts are calling for a new designation in England, Wildbelt, to protect land that is put into recovery for nature.

The Wildlife Trusts’ latest 30 by 30 projects include:

  • Pewley Down Fields – Surrey Wildlife Trust: Acquisition of rare chalk grassland, home to skylarks and rare butterflies, saved by rapid community action
  • Pencnwc Mawr Wood The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales: Increasing the size of a rare Welsh temperate woodland, scarcer than tropical rainforest
  • Astonbury Wood Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust: Purchase of long-term lease to manage this irreplaceable ancient woodland and secure its future for nature
  • Peatland Progress – Cambridgeshire Wildlife Trust: Pioneering work on a grand scale tackling climate change, biodiversity loss and eco-anxiety
  • Honeygar – Somerset Wildlife Trust: Nature is getting to work on this former dairy farm by re-wetting drained peat soils to lock-up carbon
  • Wild Woodbury – Dorset Wildlife Trust: Wild Woodbury is England’s first large-scale community rewilding project on former farmland
Woods at BBOWT's C.S. Lewis Nature Reserve in Oxford. Picture: Jenny McCallum

Woodland at BBOWT's C.S. Lewis Nature Reserve in Oxford. Picture: Jenny McCallum

Craig Bennett, Chief Executive of The Wildlife Trusts, said:

“We are thrilled to have raised £25 million in the past year to fund our vision for 30 by 30 and we’re extremely grateful to every single person who has helped make this happen. It’s fantastic that people want to support our work to reverse wildlife declines and address the climate emergency.

“But this is only the first step to mend our broken natural world by 2030. While The Wildlife Trusts are taking urgent action, some aspects of the Government’s agenda threaten to undermine good work on the ground, by weakening habitat regulations which protect wildlife, weakening the planning rules that guard the environment, and shrinking the powers and resources needed by the Environment Agency to stop river pollution.

“The Government needs to invest far more in nature – we know that more than a £1 billion annually is needed to create and restore wild places. A recent report found that only about 3% of land in England is genuinely protected for nature – yet the Government wrongly persists in claiming the amount protected is 26%. It’s time they faced the huge scale of the task and stumped up the funds to match.”

A Chiltern landscape. Picture: Harry Househam

Farmland in the Chilterns in South Oxfordshire. Picture: Harry Househam

New nature recovery project map unveiled to help achieve 30 by 30

Today, The Wildlife Trusts unveil a new online map which gives examples of a range of projects underway to achieve nature’s recovery. Nature needs more, bigger, wilder landscapes that are joined together to allow wildlife to thrive, rebuild natural abundance and help species and habitats adapt to climate change. The projects include nature-friendly farmland, urban green spaces, gardens, woodlands, rivers, nature reserves and more. View the map HERE.   

Notes to editors


  • Sept 2020: The Wildlife Trusts launch £30 million appeal to kickstart nature’s recovery across 30% of land and sea by 2030 – see media release here.
  • UK Government announces commitment to 30% of land for nature by 2030 here – The Wildlife Trusts respond here.
  • “A recent report found that only about 3% of land is genuinely protected for nature” – Achieving 30x30 in England on land and sea – Wildlife and Countryside Link report here
  • The Wildlife Trusts’ preliminary analysis of the Planning White Paper is here and here.
  • Wildlife and Countryside Link - Comprehensive Spending Review 2020 – figure of over £1bn needed for nature’s recovery here and here.
  • Wildbelt briefing here – The Wildlife Trusts are calling for this new designation in England.


Why putting 30% into recovery is our target

Our campaign takes its lead from The UN  Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). This is an agreement between countries based on natural and biological resources, with 3 main goals: to protect biodiversity; to use biodiversity without destroying it; and, to share any benefits from genetic diversity equally. The CBD has proposed that at least 30% of the world’s land and seas should be protected in the next decade to prevent the destruction of the planet’s biodiversity, as part of a global framework to protect the Earth’s plant and wildlife. The 30% threshold of wildlife habitat in a landscape has been worked out by looking at a range of different species and their requirements. At less than 30% cover, habitat patches are too small and isolated, and species richness (the number of species in any one area), abundance and survival rates decline. This is what has led to the UK becoming one of the most nature-depleted countries on Earth.  Where habitat cover is greater than 30% habitat patches will, on average, be larger and the distance between patches will typically be less, resulting in greater connectivity. This means that if local extinctions do occur, other populations of the same species can move into the area easily.