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17/08/2020

Pilots announced for nature recovery plans

Words: Laura Edgar
Hedgehogs / Shutterstock_1007540725

Five local authorities are to act as pilot areas to test ways in which the recovery of landscapes and wildlife in England can be driven locally.

The authorities are Cornwall Council, Buckinghamshire Unitary Authority, Greater Manchester Combined Authority, Northumberland County Council and Cumbria County Council. 

The five authorities will receive a share in £1 million of funding to set up ‘Local Nature Recovery Strategies’ (LNRS) pilot studies. The aim is to help map the most valuable sites and habitats for wildlife in each area, and to identify where nature can be restored. 

Edwina Hannaford, Cornwall Council’s portfolio holder for climate change and neighbourhoods, said being part of the pilot "will enable us to strengthen local partnerships".

“Working in partnership with a range of organisations such as the Cornwall and Tamar Valley AONBs and utilising the strategic leadership of the Local Nature Partnership, we will build on the tremendous work that has already been undertaken in Cornwall to ensure that the recovery of our natural environments goes hand in hand with our efforts to support our economy and communities in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We see this pilot as a stepping stone towards a greater appreciation of our natural places, reversing the decline in nature that has impacted on Cornwall, the UK and the world over many decades and placing the health and wealth of our environment on the same footing as economic and social wellbeing.”

Each authority will receive a share of £1 million in funding to set up local nature recovery strategies. These pilots will map the most valuable sites and habitats for wildlife in each area and identify where nature can be restored.

Local authorities will set out their local priorities for restoring and linking habitats together, as well as agree the best places to help nature recover.

Work could include the creation of wildflower habitat for pollinators, planting trees, restoring peatland, establishing green spaces for people, or new woodlands and wetlands.

The environment bill will require all areas in England to establish a local nature recovery strategy. Strategies will bring together various interest groups, including farmers, businesses and local communities to deliver priorities for nature. 

Environment minister Rebecca Pow said: “Coronavirus is shining a light on the importance of our natural world, and the positive impact nature can have on our health and well-being.

“These first pilots will be a key part of our green recovery and help kick-start the creation of over a million acres of joined up habitats that people can enjoy across the country.”

Natural England chair Tony Juniper added: “If we wish to have rich and abundant wildlife, more carbon captured in trees, soil and hedges, better protection from extreme weather and enough places for people to gain the wellbeing benefits of good quality green spaces, then we must invest in nature’s recovery, and at scale.”

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) will invest around £1 million in the five pilots as part of the collaboration with Natural England. 

Image credit | Shutterstock

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