Joining forces to restore wildlife in England's finest landscapes

Thursday 23rd June 2011

Wildflower meadow by Zsuzsanna BirdZsuzsanna Bird

A group of MPs and Peers, together with environment minister Richard Benyon, today heard how a coalition of seven key countryside groups is responding to Government calls for wildlife recovery across England.

he Government’s recently published Natural Environment White Paper set out big aspirations for wildlife recovery. Today, the joint ambition Think Big: ecological recovery in protected landscapes - developed by a strong coalition of major landowning, managing, planning and campaigning groups - shows how we will work together in our most special landscapes to respond to the Government’s call.

Richard Benyon, Minister for the Natural Environment and Fisheries, supported the statement, which endorses the principle of ecological recovery and is a welcome start in the delivery of the Government’s aspirations.

National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (together the ‘protected landscapes’) are already highly valued for their spectacular landscapes, wildlife and cultural heritage. The nine National Parks, the Broads, and the 34 AONBs between them cover a quarter of England.

From the Cornish Coast and the Cotswolds to the Lake District and the North York Moors, they are already great places to see some of our most spectacular wildlife like red squirrels, hen harriers and Atlantic oak woods. However, many of these species and habitats are under threat from changing land use, intensive land management practices, and the changing climate.

In Think Big we identify what we can do to ensure that the protected landscapes form the core of wildlife and ecological recovery across England:

Christine Reid from the Campaign for National Parks said: “We are delighted to be supporting this initiative which will help National Parks and AONBs achieve their potential as havens for wildlife, and at the same time reward the millions of visitors they welcome each year with wonderful wildlife experiences”;

David Bullock, from the National Trust, said: “It is vital that we talk with local people, and find out how wildlife networks could benefit their communities and businesses, so they can help us to take positive action on the ground”;

Mike Clarke, Chief Executive of the RSPB said: “We would be thrilled to see some of the Government’s proposed Nature Improvement Areas centred on these protected landscapes – to give them a boost in fulfilling their potential”;

Paul Wilkinson from The Wildlife Trusts pointed out that: “We need to ensure that reforms to the Common Agricultural Policy support all farmers and communities in contributing towards ecological restoration and nature's recovery”;

David Dixon of the National Association for AONBs added that “We will also be working hard to ensure that changes to England’s planning system are undertaken in a way that protects our most vulnerable habitats and most beautiful landscapes”;

Hilary Allison at the Woodland Trust said: “By mobilising our supporters we want to see a step change in the level of woodland creation in protected landscapes, where this can benefit wildlife and people”;

Nigel Stone, Chief Executive of Exmoor National Park Authority, speaking on behalf of the English National Park Authorities Association (ENPAA), said: “We will actively seek to extend the exciting wildlife projects that already exist across National Parks. Through this new coalition, and with other partners, we will look for innovative ways to support positive habitat management and species recovery, so that National Parks are valued as centres of excellence in ecological recovery.”



Tagged with: Living Landscapes