G7 Summit Stimulates Green Legacy for Cornwall

FALMOUTH, Cornwall, United Kingdom, June 13, 2021 (ENS) – Now that the G7 leaders have held their 2021 summit meeting and moved on, the region of England where they met will not be forgotten. Cornwall will benefit from new investment in its natural landscape and towns under Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s plan to create a long-term legacy from the G7 Summit.

Prime Minister Johnson, said, “The exciting projects we have announced today are a fitting legacy for a region playing host to some of the most important diplomatic talks in a generation. As the world builds back better from coronavirus, Cornwall will lead the way.”

Visit Cornwall estimates the total economic impact for the county of hosting the G7 Summit will be £50 million – £24m during the event itself, and over £26m from future growth in the international tourist market over the next five years.

Prime Minister Johnson is proud of the low-carbon path the UK is on to curb climate change.

“The UK has set the world’s most ambitious climate change target to reduce emissions by 78 percent by 2035 compared to 1990 levels, putting us on the path to achieve net zero by 2050,” Johnson said. “The UK is cutting emissions faster than any other G7 country and later this year the we will host the [United Nations’] COP26 Summit in Glasgow to take forward international action on tackling climate change.”

Cornwall is renowned for its beauty and landscape, he said. The region has over 700 kilometers of coastline and 27 percent of Cornwall is already designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

However, biodiversity is declining in the area at a faster rate than the UK average. Over the last 30 years, the populations of almost half of Cornwall’s breeding bird species have declined and half of land mammals and almost two-thirds of butterflies are found in fewer places.

To reverse the decline in biodiversity and restore Cornwall’s natural environment, the government, in partnership with Natural England and the Cornwall Wildlife Trust, is launching a major land restoration and regeneration program across 21,000 hectares of Cornwall land.

Natural England Chair, Tony Juniper, said, “We are very pleased to announce this new G7 environmental legacy project in Cornwall. It will assist with Nature recovery through reconnecting habitats and ecosystems across the region, contributing to the conservation of rare species, carbon capture and improved water quality.”

Marsh fritillary butterfly (Euphydryas aurinia) male, Brickes Wood, Lydlinch, Dorset, England, May 26, 2017 (Photo by Charles Sharp, Sharp Photography)

This nature recovery project involves planting trees, restoring peat, making improvements to water quality, recreating scarce habitats and reintroducing lost and declining species such as the dormouse and the marsh fritillary butterfly.

This restoration will provide a boost to Cornwall’s efforts to become the first region in the UK to achieve net-zero emissions. Reforestation and the restoration of wetlands through the project will take an estimated 440,000 tonnes of the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.

To help Cornwall reach net-zero quickly, the government has announced a package of measures to help individuals and companies take steps to reduce their carbon footprints.

This includes up to £1 million of innovation funding earmarked for businesses in Cornwall to support their development of technologies, products and processes in energy efficiency, power generation and energy storage.

Electric bikes are the only electric vehicles not to receive grants at present, so the Prime Minister proposes establishing Cornwall as a pilot area for a new e-bike support scheme.

Subject to full business case approval, Cornwall will receive up to £150,000 to design and build ‘Kernosat,’ a small satellite which will be used to monitor the local environment, with the possibility that it may be launched from a UK spaceport next year.

As well as protecting the health and diversity of Cornwall, the creation of a nature recovery area and decarbonization efforts will support local farming businesses, create hundreds of skilled green jobs and apprenticeships and boost local tourism.

The Town Deals announced for Penzance, St Ives and Camborne are worth over £65 million and will fund projects at the heart of communities in some of Cornwall’s most deprived areas.

This includes creating a new network of foot and cycle paths across Camborne, Penzance and from St. Ives to St. Erth. Community hubs including theaters, sports clubs and historic buildings will also be restored and expanded to ensure both residents and visitors can fully enjoy the cultural heritage of the region.

Other funding will go to sustain businesses and commercial sectors worst hit by the coronavirus pandemic and to create new business hubs in the towns which will re-establish them as economic powerhouses and centers of innovation – creating long term, sustainable jobs.

Featured image:  British Prime Minister Boris Johnson arrives at Carbis Bay Hotel ahead of the G7 leaders summit in Cornwall, England. June 9, 2021 (Photo by Simon Dawson courtesy No 10 Downing Street)

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