Cornwall will benefit from new investment in its town centres and natural landscape under plans announced by the Prime Minister to create a long-term legacy from the G7 Summit.
Later this week world leaders will gather in Carbis Bay in Cornwall for crucial discussions on world issues. Against the backdrop of the Cornish coast they are expected to agree action to tackle climate change, protect nature and lead a recovery from coronavirus that works for everyone across the length and breadth of our countries.
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 theatres, 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 most badly hit by the coronavirus pandemic and to create new business hubs in the towns which will re-establish them as economic powerhouses and centres of innovation – creating long term, sustainable jobs.
Cornwall is renowned for its beauty and landscape. The region has over 700km of coastline and 27% 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 breeding birds 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 programme across 21,000 hectares of land. 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 dormice and the marsh fritillary butterfly.
These plans will ensure the beauty and biodiversity of Cornwall’s landscape is safeguarded for future generations and will establish the region as a role model both across the UK and around the world when it comes to looking after the natural environment.
This restoration will provide a huge boost to Cornwall’s efforts to become the first net zero region in the UK. Reforestation and the restoration of wetlands through the project will take an estimated 440,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.
To help Cornwall reach net zero faster the Government has also announced a package of measures to help individuals and companies take steps to reduce their carbon footprint. 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. Establishing Cornwall as a pilot area for a new e-bike support scheme – e-bikes are the only electric vehicles not to receive grants at present. Subject to full business case approval Cornwall will also receive up to £150k to design and build ‘Kernosat’, a small satellite which will be used to monitor the local environment, with the potential for it to be launched from a UK spaceport next year.
As well as protecting the health and diversity of this beautiful part of the world, the creation of a nature recovery area and decarbonisation efforts will support local farming businesses, create hundreds of skilled green jobs and apprenticeships and boost local tourism – establishing a long-lasting green legacy from the G7 Summit.
The Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, said:
As the eyes of the world look to Cornwall this week, not only will they see an area of outstanding beauty, they will witness a region that is innovative, exciting and looking firmly towards a bright future.
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.
The Government is working closely with Cornish leaders and institutions to shape the long-term legacy for the region from hosting the G7.
The Summit this week will profile local contractors – including its website being designed in Cornwall, tables for the Summit being made in Falmouth and gifts for world leaders being sourced from St Ives. Ahead of the Summit the Government has also made a £7.8m investment into Cornwall Airport Newquay’s facilities.
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.
The UK has set the world’s most ambitious climate change target to reduce emissions by 78% by 2035 compared to 1990 levels, putting us on the path to achieve net zero by 2050. The UK is cutting emissions faster than any other G7 country and later this year the we will host the COP26 Summit in Glasgow to take forward international action on tackling climate change.
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.