New nature zones covering hundreds of thousands of hectares are to be set up across England, DEFRA has announced.

The 12 Nature Improvement Areas (NIAs), which include marshes, wetlands and woodland, will each get a share of £7.5million to create wildlife havens, restore habitats and encourage local people to get involved with nature.

Environment secretary Caroline Spelman said: ?These exciting projects are the result of different organisations all working together with a common purpose ? to safeguard our wildlife for generations to come.?

A consortium of 41 Wiltshire farmers, backed by the Game & Wildlife Conservation Trust, was behind the successful Marlborough Downs bid. The group is aiming to restore ecological networks for wildlife by creating wildlife corridors interspersed with vast habitat improvements across precious chalk and grassland habitat.

The rest of this article appears in the 7th March issue of Shooting Times.

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