Call for Government to re-commit

Thursday 7th June 2012

Urban flowers cpt Paul HobsonUrban flowers cpt Paul Hobson

On the first anniversary of the Natural Environment White Paper’s publication, The Wildlife Trusts urge the Government to recommit to the restoration and recovery of the natural environment.

At its launch, on 7 June 2011, The Wildlife Trusts applauded the Government’s level of ambition and were keen to ensure that there was a sense of urgency in acting on the many commitments.

Only by taking a strategic view, and involving local communities, will we secure the survival of wildlife-rich places, and aid nature’s recovery.

At that time, the Government committed to establishing Nature Improvement Areas (NIAs).  Of the 12 announced in February, The Wildlife Trusts are involved in all, and leading on five.  However, the organisation remains concerned that limiting the number could seriously limit the scale of nature restoration.

Following the inclusion of Nature Improvement Areas in the National Planning Policy Framework in March, The Wildlife Trusts believe the current priority is for the concept to be picked up in every new Local Plan and for Nature Improvement Areas to be identified as part of local ecological networks everywhere across England.

The Governments’ policy, as stated in the Natural Environment White Paper, is for Nature Improvement Areas to be identified “wherever the opportunities or benefits are greatest, driven by the knowledge and vision of local partners”.

Paul Wilkinson, Head of Living Landscape for The Wildlife Trusts, said:

“We have a massive opportunity to build on the regional and local opportunity mapping work, to make sure that opportunities for restoration and recovery of the natural environment are embedded in planning policy.  There are complex demands being placed on land for food, wildlife, recreation and development.  Only by taking a strategic view, and involving local communities, will we secure the survival of wildlife-rich places, and aid nature’s recovery."

The Wildlife Trusts have, for years, been delivering landscape-scale conservation with farmers, landowners and local communities on the ground - through Living Landscape schemes - on a voluntary basis.  All are working to reconnect people to nature where they live.  This approach has been recognised and needs to be driven forward and implemented with sufficient resources.

Tagged with: Living Landscapes