Rescuing England’s countryside and all its residents is no easy feat – so it’s lucky that Cumbria is leading the charge to see the country’s wildlife get back on its feet.

Cumbria County Council, along with four other areas in England, is set to receive a share of £1 million from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to create a strategy that will give British nature the boost it needs.

As part of the Local Nature Recovery Strategy, the council, in partnership with Natural England, hopes to cover everything from creating maps which show the most valuable existing sites and habitats for wildlife to planting trees and focusing on natural flood management.

And Councillor Celia Tibble, Cumbria County Council’s cabinet member for environment, is "delighted", saying: “I am delighted that Cumbria has been identified as one of the five Local Nature Recovery Strategy pilot areas nationally.

"It is an exciting opportunity for us to lead this important initiative.

“These Local Nature Recovery Strategies will combine local knowledge with expert information and it is an exciting opportunity for us to engage with a wide range of people to help create additional habit rich environments across our county.

“Thanks to this announcement our work on this can now start in earnest.”

The national project aims to bring a range of groups together, from farmers to businesses and local communities, allowing everyone to get involved with supporting wildlife, tackling climate change, and keeping the eco-system running smoothly.

Chris Kaighin, Natural England area manager for Cumbria, said: “Being chosen as one of the pilots for the Local Nature Recovery Strategies is a fantastic opportunity for Cumbria, to continue to develop a thriving natural in environment for the benefit of residents, businesses and tourists.

“We are working with Cumbria County Council and engaging with partners across the county, including the Lake District National Park Partnership, the Yorkshire Dales National Park, three Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty – Arnside and Silverdale; Solway Coast; and North Pennines – and people who manage Cumbria’s landscapes.

“We will also be engaging widely with members of the public across the county so that the Local Nature Recover Strategy represents the ambitions of communities.”

Other areas involved in the scheme include Northumberland County Council, Greater Manchester Combined Authority, Cornwall Council and Buckinghamshire County Council, and while the five areas will drive the first pilots, the upcoming Environment Bill will go even further – requiring all areas in England to establish LNRSs.

Environment Minister Rebecca Pow said: “Coronavirus is shining a light on the importance of our natural world, and the positive impact nature can have on our health and well-being.

“These first pilots will be a key part of our green recovery and help kick-start the creation of over a million acres of joined up habitats that people can enjoy across the country.”

Natural England chair Tony Juniper added: “If we wish to have rich and abundant wildlife, more carbon captured in trees, soil and hedges, better protection from extreme weather and enough places for people to gain the wellbeing benefits of good quality green spaces, then we must invest in Nature’s recovery, and at scale.

“National ambitions for Nature’s recovery will need to support local action and today is a significant milestone in doing just this.

"We look forward to working with our partners in these five areas to create bigger, better and more connected natural places to halt and then reverse the decline in our environment.”

For more information, visit the Cumbria County Council website.