Dr Luke Evans, MP for Bosworth, has invited the Chancellor to visit Twycross Zoo, following Dr Luke’s recommendation of the zoo for the Levelling Up Fund. Earlier this year, Dr Luke was thrilled to have the opportunity to recommend Twycross Zoo’s project for a National Science and Conservation Centre, which would bring a number of benefits to our local economy, and has worked hard to support the zoo since being elected in 2019.
In Parliament on the 7 September, Dr Luke said the new centre would be a 'world-leading scientific, education and conservation centre driving tourism and the local economy’ which are ‘backed by the Borough Council, the County Council, the LEP, and the Midlands Engine’. Evans then asked the Treasury: ‘would the Chancellor like to come and visit, and failing that, would he like to meet me to discuss how we can make this a symbol of Levelling Up for the Nation?’
Speaking on behalf of the Chancellor, the Treasury Minister Stephen Barclay said he would like to ‘thank my Honourable friend for putting forward a bid for the Levelling Up Fund’ describing how ‘bids are currently subject to competitive assessment against objective criteria’. Barclay also praised the work done at zoos like Twycross, describing how he thinks ‘the whole house will welcome that zoos are once again fully open to the public this summer, and they do provide a wide range of valuable benefits.’
In June of this year, Dr Luke recommended Twycross Zoo’s project for a National Science and Conservation Centre to receive funding from the Government’s Levelling Up Fund. The creation of a Centre would provide a wide range of benefits for our area, and Dr Luke is keen to support the bid in any way he is able to. The proposed 3,365sqm purpose-built centre located adjacent to Twycross Zoo will offer researchers from around the world the opportunity to study the 4 Great Apes, plus over 100 endangered species, in naturalistic complex environments. The centre will also support conservationists and scientists with a world class facility for helping to tackle the environmental and ecological challenges we are facing over coming decades.
Locally, the project would create a welcome boost to our tourism industry, building on the 600,000 visitors a year the zoo already receives. Regionally, a new Centre would create bespoke programmes and events for schools and universities to further enhance understanding of wildlife and conservation, inspiring the next generation of scientists and conservationists. On a national level, the Centre would help to support the development of STEM skills for wildlife and conservation management, whilst also having positive international implications for conservation.
Dr Luke added: ‘I was so pleased to be able to have the opportunity in Parliament this week to raise Twycross Zoo’s project for a National Science and Conservation Centre. When the opportunity to submit local projects for the Government’s Levelling Up Fund arose, I jumped at the opportunity for Twycross, given its importance to our local economy, welcoming hundreds of thousands of visitors every year. I was recently there myself and was lucky enough to meet the lemurs, and I look forward to visiting again soon!’
Dr Sharon Redrobe OBE, Chief Executive of Twycross Zoo, said: ‘There has never been a more critical time for action in conservation and we are extremely grateful to have the support of Dr Luke in driving our plans up the agenda at the highest level. It is vitally important we all play our part in protecting our planet and the species we share it with. At Twycross Zoo we have a unique opportunity to create a National Science and Conservation Centre to act as a hub for scientists across the world to conduct vital research and education to support nature.’
The Levelling Up Fund offers investment in local infrastructure, to have a visible, tangible impact on people and places, and support economic recovery. Local authorities were encouraged to submit bids in the first round of funding earlier this year, and Dr Luke was delighted to formally recommend Twycross' plans.
You can find out more about the work done at Twycross Zoo, and more information about their planned National Science and Conservation Centre, here: www.twycrosszoo.org