Schemes supporting at-risk moths, oysters and hedgerows to share lottery funding

Moths, oysters and hedgerows are among threatened native wildlife and habitats getting a boost from a share of £7.4 million National Lottery funding.

A scheme to preserve the rare and delicate twinflower in the Cairngorms National Park is also one of 15 nature projects across the UK that will receive funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Funding will go to help save eight species of moth in Kent which are at risk of imminent extinction, create a “mother oyster sanctuary” in Essex to boost the declining species, and restore, protect and create hedgerows in Surrey.

Other projects include monitoring at-risk species of whale, dolphin and harbour porpoise in the Northern Isles, inspiring people in Cumbria to protect the River Eden and rewilding and restoring woodland at Sharpham parkland in Devon.

The Quantock wave cut platform in Somerset
The Quantock wave cut platform in Somerset

Drew Bennellick, from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “Urgent action is needed to help nature recover.

“National Lottery funding is creating incredible opportunities for people to take such action for species under threat and, crucially, equipping a new generation with the skills and passion to make a real difference for the future of our natural world.”

The project in Kent will see wildlife charity Butterfly Conservation work with the public to help eight threatened species of moth, including five only found in the county.

Improvements to habitat, training conservation groups and getting local communities involved in monitoring moth populations aim to help the black-veined moth, bright wave, fiery clearwing, Fisher’s estuarine moth, straw belle, marsh mallow moth, Sussex emerald and the white-spotted sable.

Wildflowers in a Surrey hedgerow
Wildflowers in a Surrey hedgerow

Native oysters have declined 95% in Europe and are at risk of extinction, so the Zoological Society of London is creating a “mother oyster sanctuary” in Essex to kick-start a self-sustaining population of the species, involving volunteers, local businesses and youngsters with disabilities and special educational needs.

The distinctive twinflower in the Cairngorms National Park has suffered from habitat loss and fragmentation, making it too isolated to interbreed, so Plantlife has received funding to help citizen scientists restore grasslands and meadows and carry out targeted reintroduction schemes.

And Surrey Wildlife Trust is getting support to reverse declines in wildlife-rich hedgerows, 93% of which are in a poor state, by restoring and protecting existing hedges and creating new ones, with efforts to revive the learning of traditional hedge-laying.

These four schemes will help reverse the fortunes of 11 species and habitats that are on the verge of extinction, as well as support many more, the National Heritage Lottery Fund said.

A further 11 schemes focusing on monitoring wildlife and gathering data on habitats, engaging communities and providing skills training and restoring specific areas to boost species will also get a share of the money.