Sustrans’ biodiversity project to transform the National Cycle Network’s traffic-free walking and cycling routes into corridors for wildlife was launched on 12th November 2013.
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, a series of routes developed by Sustrans which stretch across the country.
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.
“ 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. ”
– Bernie Higgins, Sustrans Ecologist
Bernie Higgins, Sustrans Ecologist in England and Wales said:
“Currently one-third of the 14,000 miles of the National Cycle Network 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 National Cycle Network.
In England and Wales, Sustrans will work in collaboration with the Environment Department at the University of York to study the role of the National Cycle Network routes in reducing loss of habitats and wildlife.