Success story of the day: Natural England

Success story of the day: Natural England

Government Agencies

Story featured in the Made in Countdown 2010 publication


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Action

Natural England aims to safeguard biodiversity by protecting the best wildlife sites, promoting the recovery of declining species and habitats, embedding biodiversity into all policy and decision-making, enthusing people, developing the evidence base, and working with others to deliver the agency’s goals.

To support this approach, and to help halt the loss of biodiversity in England, Natural England has launched the Countdown 2010 Biodiversity Action Fund in 2005. The scheme supports projects managed by voluntary conservation bodies that deliver gains for priority habitats and species in England.

All of the projects funded use volunteers who have provided many thousands of hours of their time to conserve the natural environment. Natural England’s projects have also engaged with schools via outreach work and on-site events including sea-shore safaris. The projects are supporting a landscape-scale approach to conservation and are exemplars of partnership working across the sector.

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Before

England has a very high diversity of habitats and species of European, and even worldwide importance. The country therefore has a special responsibility to ensure the conservation of this diversity. The beauty of English landscapes and wildlife inspire and enrich peoples’ lives, and are an important part of England’s national identity. However England’s biodiversity is constantly under threat and preserving it is a major challenge. The needs of the natural environment have to be balanced with those of agriculture, the need for development such as for housing and people’s quality of life. An analysis of the issues posing a threat to English habitats and species has revealed that the key pressures and risks are habitat loss and degradation, environmental pollution, along with invasive native and non-native species. Natural England had to act to ensure increased action for England’s biodiversity conservation.

Now

Since 2005 the Countdown 2010 Biodiversity Action Fund has resulted in increases in both range and population for priority species such as the Black Grouse, the Brown Carder Bumblebee, the Natterjack Toads, the White-clawed Crayfi sh, the Cirl Bunting, the Nobel Chafer Beetle and the Juniper. The scheme has also resulted in the restoration of priority habitats including heathland, grassland, woodland, lowland raised bog, ponds and traditionally managed orchards. In total, the fund has supported 70 projects with £9 million from Natural England and at least an equal amount from other non-government funding sources.

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Photo: Scotgrove bluebells in England’s woods © Liz Fleuty, Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust



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