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Huntingdonshire District Council (HDC) is pleased to announce the selection of Huntingdon Town Council as the first-ever recipient of a Community Biodiversity Grant.

Funded by the Cambridge & Peterborough Combined Authority (CPCA) and delivered by HDC, the Community Biodiversity Grant Scheme is an important step towards boosting wildlife and nature across Huntingdonshire.

The Town Council's award will support a broader environmental initiative at Coneygear Park. Funds will be dedicated to the cultivation of trees, hedges, bulbs and wildflowers, fostering a biodiversity increase of 115%. This aligns with HDC's objective to double nature throughout the district.

The Community Biodiversity Grant initiative was established to enable parishes, local groups and schools to increase biodiversity in their communities. By awarding this grant to Huntingdon Town Council, HDC aims to empower local leadership in initiating projects that directly benefit and inspire local people.

Executive Councillor for Climate and Environment, Cllr Lara Davenport-Ray said: "We are delighted to present the first Community Biodiversity Grant to Huntingdon Town Council. I was very encouraged by the environmental focus of Huntingdon in Bloom this year. This grant will help the Town Council create even more variety of habitats for wildlife at Coneygear Park. Huntingdon residents can also look forward to enjoying the colourful bulb and wildflower planting.

"As our communities tackle environmental challenges, they will quickly influence their neighbours. The Community Biodiversity Grant Scheme demonstrates our dedication to building a stronger and more environmentally responsible district. HDC is committed to improving biodiversity, making Huntingdonshire a thriving space for both people and nature."

Assistant Town Clerk for Huntingdon Town Council, Natasha Pierson, said: "We were delighted to put forward Coneygear Park as one of the pilot projects for the Community Biodiversity Grant programme, and even more delighted to find out that our application has been successful! It was really important to us that the improvements we included within our bid would make a sustainable difference for the local environment, creating lasting impact in a well-used and loved public open space.

"Work has already commenced and will continue in the New Year to make the enhancements as set out in our application. We look forward to seeing the newly created habitats for wildlife thrive over the coming months and years. We also want to express our gratitude to Huntingdonshire District Council and Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority for enabling us to make positive environmental change."

Mayor of Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Combined Authority, Dr Nik Johnson, said "Congratulations to Huntingdon Town Council on being the inaugural recipient of our Community Biodiversity Grant Scheme, and for their commitment to fostering a thriving environment in collaboration with HDC. Together, we can continue making significant strides towards a greener and more resilient Huntingdonshire."

Huntingdon Town Council's Coneygear Park is one of eight sites currently under consideration for biodiversity grants, including an application for the Old Cemetery in St Neots, managed by St Neots Town Council.

A second round of funding will open from 8th January 2024. Interested parties are asked to submit an Expression of Interest (EOI). If your EOI is approved, a HDC Ecologist will conduct a site assessment in late spring/early summer of 2024.

For those who secure a site visit, grant opportunities of up to £8,000 are available for projects aimed at improving biodiversity. These projects encompass a wide range of activities, including but not limited to:

  • tree/shrub planting
  • hedgerow gapping-up
  • wildlife boxes
  • pond and habitat creation and restoration
  • landscaping
  • wildflower planting.

For more information on the grant, and how to apply, go to our Community Biodiversity Grant Scheme webpage.