Sustrans has announced a biodiversity project which will see the National Cycle Network’s traffic-free walking and cycling routes transformed into corridors for wildlife.
The Greener Greenways project will combat loss of habitats across the UK by protecting and enhancing biodiversity along 300 miles of the National Cycle Network.
Funded by Scottish Natural Heritage in Scotland, the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and other local partners in England and Wales, Greener Greenways will focus on five areas: the North West of England, Yorkshire and the Humber, the Midlands, Wales and Scotland on 38 routes which are predominantly owned or managed by Sustrans.
Bernie Higgins, Sustrans Ecologist in England and Wales said: “Currently one-third of the 14,000 miles of the NCN are traffic-free routes. While these routes are pleasant green spaces, they are currently managed as transport corridors with little focus on wildlife. As a result, native plants and animals are at risk of being lost. We’ve launched this project to radically change the way Sustrans-owned routes are managed so that we are helping to protect the UK’s unique wildlife."
Over the next three years, Sustrans ecologists and volunteers will undertake a series of surveys, data searches and consultation with conservation organisations to identify which types of flora and fauna inhabit the NCN.
Sustrans will work in collaboration with the Environment Department at the University of York, to study the role of the NCN routes in reducing loss of habitats and wildlife.