Cash boost for South Downs National Park project

A £3million plan to safeguard endangered chalk downland in the South Downs National Park has been given a £608,000 government boost.

Members of the authority heard the funding has come after a decision from environment secretary Caroline Spelman.

The South Downs Way Ahead project, consisting of 27 organisations led by the South Downs National Park Authority, will trail blaze the government’s new ‘Nature Improvement Area’ (NIA) scheme to protect habitats and the economic and social benefits they bring.

Margaret Paren, chairman of the authority, said: “South Downs chalk downland is vital to the survival of rare and endangered wildlife and is relied on by millions of people to provide clean drinking water and valuable green space.

“We are working in partnership with 26 organisations across the national park to safeguard this precious landscape and encourage people to help secure these benefits for now and future generations.”

The project will support work across the South Downs including landowners, farmers and water companies working together to improve water quality through appropriate land management.

It will also support the restoration of chalk downland.