According to the landmark State of Nature 2023 report, recently published by leading wildlife organisations including Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, nature is continuing to decline at an alarming rate across the UK — by 19% on average since monitoring began in 1970 — and one in six species are now at risk of being lost from Great Britain.

Here in Derbyshire, our wonderful landscapes and wildlife are under threat from pollution, habitat loss and our changing climate.

Wilder and more natural areas are needed to help wildlife recover, enable nature to adapt to climate change, and create healthier, happier, and more prosperous communities.

Great British Life: Old Whittington before Photo: Derbyshire Widlife TrustOld Whittington before Photo: Derbyshire Widlife Trust

Nature at the heart of every solution

With more than 60 years of experience creating and managing space for nature across the county, Derbyshire Wildlife Trust continues to invest in large-scale projects that are bringing nature back.

And now, a new ecological consultancy and ecosystem service provider within Derbyshire Wildlife Trust has been launched aimed at ensuring even more space is being positively managed for nature across the county, and beyond.

Wild Solutions is the name given to the experienced and dedicated team of advisers, ecologists and land managers behind the consultancy.

They want to work with as many people and organisations as possible to provide end-to-end nature-based solutions - from ideation and project development to delivery and practical implementation - with nature recovery at the heart of them.

‘We’ve been dedicated to doing exactly what Wild Solutions can provide for more than 60 years and have already implemented these solutions at our own sites across Derbyshire, so we are well placed to offer this service to others,’ says Matt Buckler, director of natural solutions at Derbyshire Wildlife Trust.

‘For years we have worked with local organisations to provide everything from nature recovery advice, surveys and land management to nature-based solutions such as natural flood management, nutrient neutrality and carbon storage.

‘With a growing focus on nature-based solutions to meet the ecological and climate emergencies, we have a significant opportunity to use our expertise to operate commercially, whilst also delivering our charitable aims and strategic goals.

‘Through Wild Solutions we want to continue working with a wide range of clients, stakeholders and partners including parish, town and district councils, private landowners, land managers and businesses to support them with the bespoke, well-rounded solutions they need, whilst driving change to take action for wildlife, making more space for nature and helping its recovery.’

Great British Life: Old Whittington, June 2023 Photo: Kayleigh WrightOld Whittington, June 2023 Photo: Kayleigh Wright

Right for society and nature

As part of the services provided by Wild Solutions, Derbyshire Wildlife Trust is developing a pilot approach to funding even more space for nature, maximising opportunities presented by changes to the planning process as a result of the 2021 Environment Act.

The Act includes a requirement that by January 2024 (a slight delay to the original date of November 2023 set by the Government) all new developments, such as housing developments and commercial sites, need to leave wildlife habitats in a measurably better state than before the development.

This improvement, which must be at least ten per cent, is referred to as Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG).

‘At Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, we believe we have a moral obligation to ensure that schemes, such as BNG and carbon credits, deliver the most effective solutions for society and nature,’ adds Matt.

‘Healthy, functioning ecosystems deliver a huge range of vital ecosystem services, from pollination and natural flood management to physical and mental health benefits.

‘Our approach focuses on developing functioning, resilient ecosystems, rather than maximising the number of BNG units or trees planted per hectare, in order to deliver more space for nature in the most strategic places.

‘And through robust and transparent monitoring programmes, ideally working with local communities, we will make sure that we are delivering on our promises.

‘All the funds that are generated through the Wild Solutions consultancy will be invested in securing the best outcomes for nature and people across the county.

‘We have recently established our first habitat banking site at Wild Whittington in Chesterfield. The piece of land is set to be rewilded, creating new habitats, which is great news for nature and local people, but will also enable us to use BNG units to raise further funds to protect land and nature, as we always have done, whilst generating income to make more space for nature.

‘Sales of BNG Habitat Units (HU) at the site have commenced and have now been committed to number of local developments in Chesterfield and Bolsover, to support these projects in achieving at least a ten per cent net-gain in biodiversity on their developments.’

The Trust is now in the process of securing further habitat banks across the county with the aim of having a minimum of one strategically located habitat bank within each Local Planning Authority (LPA) to maximise the provision of multiple ecosystem services, habitat connectivity and benefit local communities.

It has recently launched an appeal towards the purchase of 80 acres of farmland in Nether Heage and for rewilding projects across Derbyshire.

With donations from generous members and supporters, Derbyshire Wildlife Trust’s expert teams will continue to take action to help nature recover.

To find out more about how Wild Solutions can help achieve nature’s recovery, visit, or get in touch by emailing