Even more Britons support the country’s national parks being made wilder, with parts of the protected areas set aside for rewilding, the survey for the charity Rewilding Britain shows.
According to the charity, rewilding is the large-scale restoration of nature to the point it can take care of itself, by bringing back habitats and natural processes and, where appropriate, reintroducing lost species such as beavers.
There are already a number of rewilding schemes in Britain, led by the new rewilding centre being built on the 10,000 acre Dundreggan estate in Glenmoriston.
Other schemes around the UK include Knepp Estate in Sussex, Wild Ken Hill in Norfolk, which is undertaking rewilding along with regenerative agriculture, and Cabilla Cornwall, an upland hill farm in Bodmin Moor that is restoring temperate rainforest.
Farmers and landowners are set to be paid for large-scale nature projects including rewilding under UK Government plans for post-Brexit farming support.
Ministers are consulting on how national parks can do more to help nature, tackle climate change and support people and communities.
The Scottish Government has committed to increasing the number of national parks in response to public demand, pledging to establish “at least one” new one by 2026.
The poll of 1,674 people by YouGov in October showed 81 per cent of people supported rewilding in Britain, with support similarly high across voters from all political parties, all ages and social classes. Just 5 per cent opposed rewilding.
It also found 83 per cent of people supported Britain’s national parks being made wilder, with areas in them set aside for rewilding.
Three-quarters of those quizzed supported setting a target to increase the percentage of land rewilded in Britain from less than 1 per cent today to at least 5 per cent, and the same proportion of people thought politicians should be doing more to reverse the decline in nature in the country.
Rebecca Wrigley, chief executive of Rewilding Britain, said: “This polling confirms rewilding is overwhelmingly popular with the British public – and that people want politicians to do much more to reverse the catastrophic decline of nature in our country.
“Rewilding offers a major solution to the nature and climate emergencies while benefiting people, including through new jobs and opportunities for rural and coastal communities, and healthier towns and cities.
“Rewilding is attracting astonishing levels of support because it’s about hope.”
Rewilding Britain wants to see efforts to restore nature across at least 30 per cent of Britain’s land and sea by 2030, with 5 per cent of this area being rewilded.
This would create areas of rewilded native forest, peatland, grasslands, wetlands, rivers and coastal areas, with no loss of productive farmland, while the remaining 25 per cent would support nature-friendly farming and other uses, the charity suggests.