An investor group have awarded over £400,000 in 'Local Growth Funding' to promote the recovery and development of nature and wildlife in Surrey.

Investors Coast to Capital announced a £426,000 investment in the Surrey Wildlife Trust (SWT) to deliver a "nature recovery network" between Redhill and Godstone.

Coast to Capital say they are the "first Local Enterprise Partnership in the UK to invest Local Growth Funding in 'natural capital'" in the UK.

Surrey Comet: Jon HawkinsJon Hawkins

The fund will help SWT to deliver the nature recovery network by creating and managing woodlands, community orchards, rivers, ponds and hedgerows in the Holmesdale area, providing "recreational space for people to enjoy improving health and wellbeing".

The area chosen was previously designated as a Biodiversity Opportunity Area (BOA), which means that it is a priority area for restoration and creation of habitat.

SWT's CEO Sarah Jane Chimbwandira said the funding was essential to help counteract the "devastating decline" in insects, birds and mammals witnessed in the area recently.

"The devastating decline in insects, which pollinate three quarters of our food, and birds and mammals means we can no longer sacrifice nature for profit.

"Coast to Capital is taking a transformational approach to sustainable growth, where creating space for nature is valued as important as space for housing and business," she said.

Surrey Comet: Jon Hawkins/SWT Jon Hawkins/SWT

The investment group's CEO meanwhile highlighted the richness of the area and described the decision as the "right thing to do".

Coast to Capital's Jonathan Sharrock said:

"The area is blessed with natural assets that are treasured by residents, businesses and visitors.

"Preserving and enhancing these, as we grow the economy, is not just the right thing to do, it is an economically essential thing to do.

"We are excited that through our investment fund natural assets in Surrey will be enhanced. Our ambition is to develop a model of sustainable growth for the area."

As well as being a boon for the environment in Surrey, SWT said that the new investment was expected to bring jobs to the area too.

Chimbwandira pointed out that funding like this could also help develop new investment prospects going forward.

"The natural capital accounts create further investment opportunities for other forward thinking organisations, such as developers, who want to move towards investing in nature and achieving ‘net gain’ for wildlife, where nature is left in a better state than before a development," she said.