Moving on to Natural England’s role. We have a range of different roles in relation to the different designated sites and areasWe advise land managers and others in order to manage, monitor and protect England’s most valuable sites.We advise on the protection of the marine environment in inshore waters. We manage National Trails, promoting responsible access to the natural environment so that people can enjoy and value what it has to offer.We protect our landscapes and designated areas from damage – and deliver priority habitats and green infrastructure - through the provision of statutory advice in the planning system.
So, we have a substantial amount of designation work underway but it is currently not very joined up or strategic.
A network of Sites of Special Scientific Interest and National Nature Reserves, National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.Many of England’s wildlife sites are too small (77% of SSSIs and 98% of LWS are smaller than 100 ha)Losses of certain habitats have been so great that the area remaining is no longer enough to halt additional biodiversity losses without concerted effortsWith the exception of Natura 2000 sites and SSSIs, most of England’s semi-natural habitats important for wildlife are generally insufficiently protected and under-managedMany of the natural connections in our countryside have been degraded or lost, leading to isolation of sitesToo few people have easy access to wildlife.
There is a range of policy driversNEWP - shifting the emphasis from piecemeal conservation action towards a more integrated, large scale approach. It contains a commitment to move from net biodiversity loss to net gain, by supporting healthy, well-functioning ecosystems and coherent ecological networks – mention Lawton report.EBS – “To halt overall biodiversity loss, support healthy well-functioning ecosystems and establish coherent ecological networks, with more and better places for nature for the benefit of wildlife and people.”Could mention specific outcomes:Outcome 1C:“By 2020, at least 17% of terrestrial and inland water, especially areas of particular importance for biodiversity and ecosystem services, conserved through effective, integrated and joined up approaches to safeguard biodiversity and ecosystem services including through management of our existing systems of protected areas and the establishment of nature improvement areas”Outcome 2A:“By the end of 2016 in excess of 25% of English waters will be contained in a well-managed Marine Protected Area network that helps deliver ecological coherence by conserving representative marine habitats.”Lawton – More, bigger, better and joinedOspar – network of well managed MPAsOspar set a target for the establishment of a network of MPAs and to ensure that: By 2012 it is ecologically coherent, includes sites representative of all bio-geographic regions in the Ospar maritime area, and is consistent with the CBD target for effectively conserved marine and coastal ecological regions;By 2016 it is well managed (i.e. coherent management measures have been set up and are being implemented for such MPAs that have been designated up to 2010).The CBD target, agreed in Nagoya in 2010, being referred to is:By 2020, at least 17 per cent of terrestrial and inland water, and 10 per cent of coastal and marine areas, especially areas of particular importance for biodiversity and ecosystem services, are conserved through effectively and equitably managed, ecologically representative, and well connected systems of protected areas and other effective area-based conservation measures, and integrated into the wider landscape and seascapes. European Landscape ConventionGovernment made a commitment to effectively protect, manage and plan England’s landscapes in 2007 when it ratified and implemented the European Landscape Convention. The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity - Recognised that existing biodiversity approach has failed to meet aspirations of Rio 1992 – step change needed for survival.Like Stearn report with Climate change, TEEB sets global picture of value of biodiversity and Natural Environment, Lawton report in UK published 2010 provides UK context for understanding and action.The importance of maintaining biodiversity has implications beyond the intrinsic value of individuals. Every species has a role, and like rivets in an aeroplane or bricks in a dam, the overall structure of our environment is weakened each time a single species is lost. We all lose when biodiversity declines: wildlife does of course enrich our lives but it also underpins vital services that we depend on – a healthy natural environment, where our animals and plants thrive, provides us with clean air, clean water, productive soils for our crops, carbon storage and flood defence, and a natural resilience to climate change – all of which we can only duplicate artificially at very great expense. We are only just beginning to understand the economic cost and social consequences of these losses, but the latest evidence suggests that global biodiversity loss by 2050 could cost us as much as €14 trillion.
OK – this is the theory – as set out by Professor Lawton. More, Bigger, Better and Joined – this is an excellent mantra.Create new sitesConnect and join up sites either through physical corridors, or through ‘stepping stones’Reduce the pressures on wildlife by improving the wider environment, including through buffering wildlife sitesImprove the quality of current sites by better habitat managementIncrease the size of current wildlife sitesThe challenge is how we do this in the context of localism, and at a time when public finances are under pressure, and people, quite rightly, want to know where every penny of public money is spent.The post-war consensus was to draw up a list of landscapes to designate, and systematically pursue designations.The 1947 Hobhouse list of designations is now complete – the South Downs was the last one.Natural England is currently reviewing its Designations Strategy – the guiding principles are:Fulfil the Government’s international obligations.Designate sites to protect habitats and species that are highly threatened and, once lost, impossible to recreate or restore, even in the long-term.Create a well managed, ecologically coherent, MPA network.Focus on Nature Improvement Areas, AONBs, National Parks, and areas identified through our spatial prioritisation work where we will use designation as a tool to contribute to the creation of ecological networks in well-managed landscapes.The 21st century approach recognises that lists drawn up by government experts is not the best way to do it.Put people in the box seat – what matters to them in their local patch, what wildlife and landscapes make a difference to them, matter to them, change their lives.
Localism Act abolished the regional tier of planning and introduced a Duty to Co-operate on strategic planning for local authorities and public bodies including Natural England. The Duty to Co-operate presents opportunities to address strategic environmental issues such as green infrastructure and climate change adaptation. We will target our engagement under the Duty to Co-operate to those places where the environmental risks or opportunities are greatest and will be maximising single voice working with EA and FC. NE will also be placing increasing emphasis on engaging in local plans to ensure robust policies are embedded on the natural environment (including policies previously set out in regional strategies) .Neighbourhood plans- next slideThe NPPF- due to be published by end March. Awaited with interest. Draft largely retained natural environment policies in Planning Policy Statements e.g. PPS9. Sets out new Local Green Space Designation – Opportunity to deliver local environmental benefits through Local and Neighbourhood Plans. Included focus on ecological networks and green infrastructure. NE suggested changes to the wording of the natural environment section, especially around SSSIs and landscapes. Government push on major infrastructure planning. Abolition of IPC and transfer of functions to Planning Inspectorate. NE is increasing staff resource on NSIPs. New Guidance on our website for staff and developers for use on NSIPs cases were works may require a European Protected Species License.
Our first priority must be to deliver our statutory duties and thus support Government in delivering its international obligations and national commitments. but there is some flexibility on where we focus our efforts.We are particularly keen to focus on areas where we can work with others to deliver ecological networks. For example in AONBs and National Parks as well as Nature Improvement Areas.
Here is an example of a fictional area where after we have implemented the strategy.All within an AONB – large scale approach to developing ecol networksSSSI extension as well as de-notificationUse of HLS to “join up” areas and create buffer areas adjacent to designated sitesA new feature added to the SPAAccess to high quality landscape and designated sites close to a National Trail
Updated National Character Area Profiles - work in progress: England’s 159 National Character Areas (NCAs) were first defined by the Countryside Agency in 1996, and at the time called Joint Character Areas. The full series of updated NCA profiles will provide a unique and valuable reference framework for anyone involved in planning conservation programmes or other activities that affect the natural environment. The aim of the NCA profiles are to: Provide information of the natural and cultural features that shape landscapes Identify opportunities to enhance the distinctive qualities of landscapes Enable people and organisations based within particular landscapes to work collaboratively for the best interests of the natural environment Create awareness of the greater benefits associated with planning conservation initiatives at a landscape scale Who are they aimed at? National Character Area profiles are intended for use by anyone involved in making decisions that can affect the natural environment. This may include local authority planners, members of community organisations, and staff in wildlife and environmental groups. The information they provide is relevant to a wide range of current national policies and initiatives relating to the natural environment.Progress Key facts and data sheets available for all 159 NCAs available online in May 2012A minimum of 80 full NCA profiles available online by March 2013All 159 NCA profiles by end 2013
New approachWorking with not doing toCoordination and collaboration, not dictat and national determination.Shared journey towards an agreed destination.
This is a summary table including the current numbers for each designations. Our role differs depending on the designation and associated legislation.
MPAs currently cover 23% of English waters and this will increase to 24% when Studland to Portland pSAC is designated later in 2012. On 8 September2011 the four MCZ regional projects published their final recommendations for 127 MCZs including 65 Reference Areas. The independent Science Advisory Panel (SAP) provided its assessment of these recommendations at the end of October. Natural England and JNCC will provide their formal joint advice and the impact assessment by mid-July 2012. Ministers will then consider how sites will be taken forward for public consultation towards the end of 2012. Depending on responses to consultation, Ministers will decide on which MCZs to designate in 2013.Ministers’ decision making will be informed by an assessment of the benefits/costs, evidence and levels of stakeholder support/concern on an individual site basis and across the whole network of sites. Assessment of data quality and evidence to support the site location, boundaries, features, and conservation objectives proposed by the regional projects will be fundamental to the advice provided by Natural England and JNCC to inform Ministers’ decision making. We anticipate that MCZs designated in 2013 and additional SPAs (to be identified by end 2015) will enable the ‘at least 25%’ element of the EBS target to be achieved; but the “ecological coherence” and “well managed” elements of the 2016 and 2020 targets require more planning and a shared understanding of what we’re trying to achieve. Our planning assumption is that a first tranche of 20-30 MCZs may be designated in 2013, with the possibility of further phased designations in subsequent tranches up to and beyond 2016 (as new evidence becomes available) to achieve ecological coherence by 2020.
The publication of the Lawton Report (Making Space for Nature), the National Ecosystem Assessment, the Natural Environment White Paper and the England Biodiversity Strategy (Biodiversity 2020), offer a unique opportunity for us to review our approach to designations. We will take a more strategic approach and consider the collective range of designations as valuable tools in fulfilling our role.The report uses the term ‘site’ to refer to important areas for England’s wildlife which may, or may not, carry a designation. Designation can facilitate Lawton’s top priority of managing existing areas better because once a site is designated we have a range of levers for improving management, and we are able to secure the future of the site in the long term. In some cases, better management may also support Lawton’s fourth priority of enhancing connectivity because better managed sites are likely to provide larger source populations for dispersal, which in turn increases the chances of species colonising or re-colonising sites, and genetic exchange between populations. There are constraints on the ability of the current suite of designations to achieve Lawton’s second, third and fifth priorities, but designation can provide a focus for efforts to make existing patches of habitat larger (such as the Great Fen Project being developed around two NNRs). They are certainly an important tool in securing the protection and long term management of sites that are created by other means, such as agri-environment schemes.
NIAs – testing a new model of protectionCommunity-led, locally drivenNIAs contain Urban and Rural areas, a range of habitats and land use, and rely on community participation.
David Henshilwood UK Protected AreasDelivering national objectives in local settings
Natural England’s Designations Role• We advise Defra and the Secretary of State on the selection of Natura 2000 sites, Ramsar sites, Marine Conservation Zones, and National Trails.• We designate Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs), Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) and National Parks.• We declare National Nature Reserves and directly manage some 140 with other partners.
Our existing Programmes• Marine Conservation Zone - 127 recommended, 1 designated, and phased designation of a proportion of these sites over three years from 2013• Marine SAC - Nearing sufficiency• Inshore Marine SPA - Challenging programme of identification requiring completion by end 2015• Terrestrial SAC - Substantially complete; future selection requirements likely to be small• Terrestrial SPA - Outstanding actions from 2001 review, current review reports 2012. Likely to lead to substantial work programme• Ramsar - No new work planned• SSSI - Work underway to review the series likely to result in significant programme• National Park/AONB - Lakes Dales National Park extension boundary review. 2 AONBs where further investigation planned• National Trail - No new work planned• National Nature Reserve - On-going programme to ensure series is both representative and meets criteria
DWhat we have now. What’s going wrong? The network of protection
What do we need to do? - ecological solutions“MORE, BIGGER, BETTER AND JOINED”
Localism Act and National Planning PolicyFramework• Localism Act: – Duty to Co-operate and changes to local plans – Neighbourhood Plans – National Planning Policy Framework:• Policies to protect and enhance natural environment• Local Green Space Designation• Ecological Networks• Strategic approach to Green Infrastructure• Major infrastructure planning
Think Global – Act Local – NEWP 2011 Reconnecting nature New Nature Improvement Areas (NIAs), transforming rural and urban areas and providing bigger, connected sites for wildlife to live in and adapt to climate change. With a £7.5 million fund for 12 initial NIAs to demonstrate just what can be done. Biodiversity offsetting – new way for developers to ensure we don’t lose wildlife sites and make them better by making and improving other sites. New Local Nature Partnerships to strengthen joined-up action across local agencies and organisations Phasing out peat – working with the horticulture industry to phase out peat use, which will help to protect and restore our peatlands, which are valuable carbon sinks, habitats and part of our ecological network.
Designations Strategy - What’s different?• We consider how, collectively, the whole suite of designations can be used to deliver ecological networks and the full range of ecosystem services.• Wherever possible, we will focus our efforts on areas where we can work in partnership with others to: – designate new sites – manage existing sites – better manage the wider landscape and our seas.
Legal obligations for MPAs• Habitats & Birds Directives;• Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) - well managed UK MPA network in place by 2016;• MSFD - ecologically coherent and well managed UK MPA network contributing to Good Environmental Status by 2020;• Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 – requires MPA network to conserve or improve the UK marine environment; and protect representative features.
Natural England’s Role in DesignationsName of designation Current Number Type Natural England’s Role in DesignationSpecial Areas of 241 European Site identificationConservation (SACs) Advice to DefraSpecial Protection Areas 81 European Site identification(SPAs) Advice to DefraRamsar 70 International Site identification Advice to DefraMarine Conservation Zone 1 Domestic Advice to Defra(MCZ)Sites of Special Scientific 4118 Domestic Site selectionInterest (SSSIs) NotificationNational Nature Reserves 225 Domestic Site selection(NNRs) DeclarationNational Trails 13 Domestic Propose Advice to DefraAreas of Outstanding 34 Domestic DesignationNatural Beauty (AONB)National Parks 9 Domestic Designation
Introducing Ecosystem Approach : Making nature’s benefits visible to decision makers Provisioning services Cultural services Fresh water Cultural heritage Food (eg crops, fruit, fish, etc) Recreation and tourism Fibre and fuel (eg timber, wool, etc) Aesthetic value Genetic resources (used for crop/stock breeding and biotechnology) Spiritual and religious value Biochemicals, natural medicines, pharmaceuticals Inspiration of art, folklore, architecture, etc Ornamental resources (eg shells, flowers, etc) Social relations (eg fishing, grazing, cropping communities) Regulatory services Supporting services Air quality regulation Soil formation Climate regulation (local temp. /precipitation, GHG sequestration, etc) Primary production Water regulation (timing/scale of run-off, flooding, etc) Nutrient cycling (water recirculation in landscape) Natural hazard regulation (ie storm protection) Water recycling Pest regulation Photosynthesis (production of atmospheric oxygen) Disease regulation Provision of habitat Erosion regulation Water purification and waste treatment What you don’t consider you may lose! PollinationThanks to Mark Everad from EA for this slide
Existing and proposed MPAs in English waters andthe offshore area adjacent to England
A Strategic Approach• The Lawton Report suggests that priority for action at a landscape scale should be as follows: – 1st Manage existing sites better – 2nd Make existing sites larger – 3rd Create new sites – 4th Enhance connectivity – 5th Create new corridors
Nature Improvement Areas A popular competition - 76 applications for NIA status 20 were selected to progress to stage 2 Final 12 were selected by the independent judging panel, and ratified by Secretary of State, The 12 will receive a share of £7.5 Million from NE (& Defra funding) over 3 years and will draw on other resources