I joined the world of environmental NGO’s back in 2010, when I secured a job with my local Wildlife Trust. Looking back, the sector was very different then.
The UK economy was still emerging from the 2008 recession, and therefore funding was inevitably tight. The 2010 Lawton review very clearly set out an ambition for environmental conservation in this country, which I remember being excited about, but it was hard to see how a struggling conservation sector might be able to contribute to such grandiose proposals. Back then, green finance, rewilding and government-backed nature recovery networks, were nothing more than a pipe dream, for even the most progressive conservationists.
Well, what a difference a little over a decade can make. The scope of opportunity for Rivers Trusts, and all environmental NGOs for that matter, is truly exciting, if a little overwhelming at times. Ensuring we’re sufficiently well organised at a local level is going to be integral to us being able to exploit the oversized dinner plate of opportunities in front of us.
Here at the Severn Rivers Trust, 2022 marks the start of a new chapter, with the inception of a host of exciting and innovative projects that will take us into new territory. Firstly, we have a range of woodland planting schemes, including Woodlands for Water, which will complement our own landowner woodland creation offer rolling out later this spring. Together, these funding mechanisms will set us on course for achieving our ambitious woodland creation targets for the Severn catchment.
Additionally, as part of our involvement with the Severn Valley Water Management Scheme, we are developing two environmental investment platforms, that will help secure long-term funding for natural flood management and soil and water management throughout the upper Severn catchment. Learning from pilot schemes already underway throughout the Rivers Trust movement, will, I am sure, prove vital to the success of these projects.
So, much to be excited about for the year ahead, and I sincerely hope that the raft of opportunities available to us will enable us to take great strides in improving the UK’s river network. I wonder what the next decade holds in store for us?
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