£4.6m from Heritage Lottery Fund to help England's most threatened species


More than 100 of England's most threatened species from the grey long-eared bat to the pasque flower are being thrown a lifeline with a £4.6 million grant for conservation work.

The Heritage Lottery Fund money will go towards the "back from the brink" project, which will see a range of organisations working to save key species including the sand lizard and the Duke of Burgundy butterfly from extinction.

The programme, a partnership between government agency Natural England and seven leading UK wildlife charities, aims to save 20 species from extinction and help another 118 that are threatened move towards a more certain future.

It will include conservation work in more than 30 places around England, working with landowners, communities and volunteers.

Melanie Hughes, Natural England's director of innovation and reform, said: "It's fantastic that we've been able to secure this funding to support the recovery of some of our most threatened species - something we believe will make a real difference to our environment and heritage."

She added: "We know that people care about the fate of our endangered wildlife, and this programme focuses on inspiring local communities to enjoy and learn about the vulnerable species local to them and across England, and how they can take positive action to improve their habitats."

Heritage Lottery Fund trustee Tom Tew said: "We think this programme can be a game-changer for wildlife - and it will get thousands of people involved in learning about and protecting some of England's most endangered species.

"There is too often a lack of awareness here about the dramatic decline of our native species and if we don't act son it will be too late."

He said the programme of initiatives would range across the country "from coast to heath, from bumblebees to bats, to make a real difference to many of our endangered species".