We’re working with The Wildlife Trust to boost biodiversity


16 May 2022

National Highways teams up with The Wildlife Trusts to launch a new £6 million Network for Nature programme.

We’re working with The Wildlife Trust to boost biodiversity

We’ve joined forces with The Wildlife Trusts to launch a new £6 million Network for Nature programme that will improve habitats across the East of England, benefitting people, nature and wildlife.

In England, the roadside estate is vast, but often next to some of our most precious habitats. When situated alongside linear infrastructure, such as motorways, habitats can create crucial corridors for pollinating insects, birds and small mammals, enabling wildlife to move through the wider landscape.

Overall, twenty-six biodiversity projects will enhance, restore and create more than 1,700 acres (690 hectares) of woodlands, grasslands, peatlands and wetlands across every region of England, with 10 sitting in the East of England.

The 10 projects include:

  • A 4 year project on the Nene Valley nature reserves, bordered by the A45, will create scrapes, a sand martin bank and better wetlands for water birds. It will also improve floodplain capacity and carbon storage, with Highland cattle introduced to enhance conservation grazing creating wildlife habitat.
  • Near the A12 in Suffolk, wetlands will be created at Carlton Marshes nature reserve and degraded arable land next to the River Waveney will be restored to a species-rich wetland full of life. Broadland dykes and wet grazing marsh will be restored, along with creating 20 new turf ponds.
  • Along the A1M, a 4 year project will see the creation of a watery wildlife corridor for brown trout, endangered water voles and mayfly by restoring 2km along the River Lea. The river was altered for road building, industry and leisure, and creating reedbeds to improve wetlands.
  • Rediscovering South Elmham Hall’s former 'ghost ponds' within the ancient deer park in Suffolk, and bringing them back to life as wildlife ponds. It’s hoped seeds that have been laying dormant for many years will spring back to life restoring what are now rare species, such as stoneworts. Insects will thrive, and in turn provide food for many species of birds such as skylarks and yellowhammers. The ponds will also be the perfect habitats for protected species such as great crested newts.
  • Over the A11 in Norfolk, we’ll be investigating the potential for a pilot scheme to convert an existing pedestrian bridge over the A11 to a green bridge, which would connect great crested newts to 2 County Wildlife Sites, including Silfield Newt Reserve. If successful, findings could support the creation of wildlife friendly and attractive green bridges across the UK. Silfield Newt Reserve was created as a new home for an important population of protected great crested newts displaced when the nearby A11 was dualled.