Nature funding on the rocks for Herts wildlife trust
PUBLISHED: 18:27 25 March 2011 | UPDATED: 21:30 20 February 2013
Time is running out for vital environmental funding for Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust as the Government looks to end the £35m Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund (ALSF) from April 2011.
Time is running out for vital environmental funding as the Government looks to end the 35m Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund (ALSF) from April 2011.
The Wildlife Trusts are calling on the Government to reinstate the fund which, it says, is vital for local communities, enhancing the natural environment and peoples engagement with it.
Between 2003 and 2009 Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust received just over 500,000 from ALSF. This funding was used to enhance three nature reserves (Amwell NR near Hertford, Broadwater Lake NR near Harefield and Rye Meads NR near Hoddesdon) and secure the purchase of Balls Wood in Hertford.
Jane Durney, Chief Executive of Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust, said, 'The ALSF is a vital funding stream for voluntary organisations such as ours. It has the support of the aggregates industry in reducing the impacts of their activities and therefore fits well with the Governments Big Society concept. It also meets Defras stated objective to enhance the environment and biodiversity to improve quality of life.
'Whilst we understand the Governments need to reduce the national debt, this is extremely disappointing news for local communities and for the natural environment. It will cut off a significant source of funding at a time when the challenges for local organisations are growing and the resources available are decreasing.'
The ALSF aims to reduce the environmental impacts of rock, sand and gravel extraction and deliver benefits to areas affected by these processes.Defra has announced its intention to close the fund at the end of March 2011; a decision made as part of the Spending Review but there has been no consultation with stakeholders.
Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust together with the other 46 Wildlife Trusts around the country are calling on Defra to reinstate the ALSF and, in particular, the grant programme administered by Natural England.