Wildlife Trusts launch Nature Recovery Network

Sydlings Copse - Jim Asher

The Wildlife Trusts have published Towards a Wilder Britain – creating a Nature Recovery Network which shows how new laws could lead to the creation of nature recovery maps and reverse decades of wildlife declines.

The new report details how a Nature Recovery Network can be established by mapping out important places for wildlife which need to be protected as well as key areas where habitats should be restored.

The Wildlife Trusts believe new laws are needed, including an Environment Act, to ensure this happens. Local Authorities must be required by law to produce local Nature Recovery Maps to achieve the new Government targets that we are calling for. It’s vital that we increase the extent and quality of natural habitats – to turn nature's recovery from an aspiration to a reality.

The report is launched at a critical time for wildlife. It coincides with the final week of two key government consultations which present a rare opportunity to influence the future of both national farming and planning policy and how these impact on nature in England.

Precious wild places and the species that depend on them have suffered steep declines over the past 70 years; intensive farming and urbanisation have been significant causes.

Now the public has a chance to call for change – so that planning rules, farm support and regulation work together towards the recovery of nature and wildlife. The Wildlife Trusts are urging people to respond to both consultations.

The Government’s 25 Year Plan for the Environment proposes the creation of a Nature Recovery Network. To take this forward Nature Recovery Maps should be at the foundation of future farming and planning policy, guiding habitat creation by farmers and housing developers to ensure it achieves government targets for wildlife’s recovery.

Protection for Local Wildlife Sites – important havens for wildlife that are supposed to be recognised in planning policy – have been dropped from the draft National Planning Policy Framework. This is backward step that would undo basic protection for 42,000 of these special places for wildlife.

Stephanie Hilborne, Chief Executive, The Wildlife Trusts, says: “Nature is valuable for its own sake and is the foundation of our society and of our economy. Yet we have neglected its value for too long. We need to substantially improve our farming and planning policies which are currently up for review; and we need an ambitious Environment Act that puts nature’s recovery on to a statutory footing. The only way any of this can work is if there are Nature Recovery Maps in every part of the country. This can help build the Nature Recovery Network that future generations deserve.”

Read Stephanie Hilborne's blog about the Nature Recovery Network.