Home – April 2022

THE WENDLING BECK ENVIRONMENT PROJECT

“It’s your world now, use well the time. Do something good, leave something good behind”. 

The Eagles, Long road out of Eden.

The Wendling Beck Exemplar Project (WBEP) is a pioneering habitat creation, nature restoration and regenerative farming project, spanning almost 2,000 acres of land North of the market town of Dereham in Norfolk, UK. 

The project is a collaboration between private landowners, local authorities, environmental NGOs, and Anglian Water. It aims to transform land use for environmental benefit, whilst also building community and environmental resilience.

Investing in climate resilience & mitigating biodiversity loss

Pioneering nature-based solutions at a landscape-scale.

WBEP represents a ground-breaking approach to conservation and land management in England, which will be financed by the sale of ecosystem services including biodiversity net gain, nutrient neutrality and natural flood management,  along with regenerative farming.

acres of land
+
biodiversity units
+
tonnes carbon sequestered*
M
of river restoration

* Estimated data by University of East Anglia

What are we doing?

Goals & Objectives:

Allow nature to thrive: Create the right conditions and reintroduce species that have declined and disappeared through time, then trust nature to do what nature does.

Bring Back Wildlife: Create and restore habitats to support native and historical species.

Ensure wellbeing: Help reconnect nature back to society and allow people to experience a wilder landscape and become closer to nature.

Build resilience for the future: Support nature-driven processes, at scale. Allow nature to heal biodiversity, water and soil and help reverse biodiversity loss and limit climate change.

Continue the story of food production: Maintain food production through regenerative practices and grass-fed cattle and sheep, which will also be used to manage high distinctiveness habitat.

Create an Exemplar: Create a model which is both financially and environmentally resilient and encourages others to follow a similar journey, creating connectivity within landscapes and delivering these benefits at a scale that really makes a difference.

What's been delivered so far?

220 acres have already been delivered on the ground.

A range of habitats are already in transition including circa 65 acres of heathland restoration, 15 acres of parkland creation, 80 acres of species-rich lowland meadow, 6 acres of lowland fen restoration, 2 acres of wet woodland, 600 metres of rare chalk stream creation. 7KM of new fencing and 2KM of new water infrastructure have been installed – to enable livestock to manage the new habitats.

Creating an exemplar

WBEP is working in partnership with Natural England as a Biodiversity Net Gain pilot.

For local developers and planning authorities, the Wendling Beck Environment Project provides an opportunity to meet Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) requirements through the purchase of biodiversity units and is one of Natural England’s BNG Credit Scheme pilots. 

The BNG baseline surveys and habitat delivery have been scrutinised by Natural England experts, so investors can feel confident that units are fully compliant with this emerging policy. 300+ Units have already been delivered and banked.

Will WBEP have a carbon benefit?

The project will have a significant carbon benefit and aims to sell carbon credits in the future.

WBEP has completed high-resolution baselines for both above ground and below ground carbon. The UK carbon market is still maturing and there is currently no carbon code for soil carbon but we will look to trade carbon in the future, as the market develops.

As the landscape changes, we will be working to continually track and monitor the carbon that the land is sequestering. This includes a collaboration with two leading rewilding projects (supported by Treeconomy & Rewilding Britain)  to better understand how different habitats sequester carbon, along with  pioneering research on soil carbon – led by the University of East Anglia (UEA).

There will also be a huge reduction in carbon due to the change of farming systems and the reduction in fossil fuels, agro-chemicals and synthetic fertilisers.

WENDLING BECK ENVIRONMENT PROJECT

 

CONCEPT MASTERPLAN

2000 Acres of land in transition…..from intensive arable to nature recovery, habitat creation& regenerative farming.

Our journey in images

As the project progresses we will keep updating our image gallery to share the highlights of our journey.

The Wendling Beck Environment Project is delivered in partnership with:

We love our partners

"This project is an opportunity for us to test nature based solutions to reduce the flood risk to our assets, improve water quality and combine our net-zero commitments with opportunities to create new habitats. It's also going to be an awful lot of fun to work with such a passionate and enthusiastic group of people."
Peter Simpson
Chief Executive - Anglian Water
"We have provided the project with resources to assess its biodiversity potential, inform the definition of alternative land-management scenarios and shape the governance and funding mechanisms that will attract investors and enable the financial viability of the project."
Sophie Tremolet
Director - The nature conservancy
"The Wending project dovetails perfectly with our new Environment Hub for Norfolk, which is being developed at the Gressenhall Rural Life Museum. Giving us a great opportunity to work with partners to improve countryside access and create new education opportunities to draw people closer to nature as part of our “Greenways to Greenspaces” programme."
John Jones
Head of Environment - Norfolk CC

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