Twenty-six biodiversity projects will enhance, restore and create more than 1,700 acres of woodlands, grasslands, peatlands, and wetlands across every region of England, with two sitting in the south east.
The projects will plant wildflowers and trees, as well as introduce wildlife, where the environment has been impacted by activities from previous road building.
A pair of chalk downland sites near Winchester, on either side of the M3 motorway, will undergo works across approximately 65 hectares of land with the aim of improving the habitat for the rare Duke of Burgundy butterfly.
Meanwhile next to the M4 in Berkshire, the Woodland Wonders of Moor Copse will be enhanced to accommodate dormice, bats, butterflies and wildflowers.
Nikki Robinson, Network for Nature programme manager for The Wildlife Trusts said: ‘We’re very pleased that National Highways is committed to Network for Nature, with a strategic approach to restoring nature and joining up vital places for wildlife to help counter the impacts of previous road building.
‘Historic road building programmes have contributed to nature’s decline, fragmenting wild spaces and causing environmental pollution, and this programme will help Wildlife Trusts throughout England carry out important nature conservation work.’
Nicola Bell, South East regional director for National Highways, added: ‘We’re committed to significantly improving biodiversity near our road network, and this investment in the South East underlines our commitment to reducing the impact of our roads on the environment and supporting biodiversity.’
Natural solutions such as wetlands and reedbeds will help filter polluted run-off from roads.