Natural England, which is one year old, was established with a
wide-ranging environmental remit and the responsibility for safeguarding
England’s natural environment.
Sir Martin Doughty, Chair of Natural England said: “In a
challenging year, much has been achieved for the wildlife, landscapes
and communities of England. I would like to thank our volunteers,
partners, stakeholders and members of the public, who have shown
constant determination to create a greener future for England.
“The challenge for Natural England now is to find new solutions
to the environmental issues of the 21st century, most notably leading
the drive to adapt to the consequences of a changing climate and
providing guidance on how best, in our crowded island, we make
space for biodiversity, for flood management, for agriculture,
for development and for people.”
Highlights so far include:
- Securing an additional 33,500 ha (2.3%) of Sites of Special
Scientific Interest (SSSIs) in favourable or recovering condition,
bringing the total to 75.4%.
- Initiating programmes to create or
restore 32,400 ha of BAP priority habitat, such as the Great
Fen project which is restoring important wildlife habitat by
creating a 3,700 hectare wetland between Huntingdon and Peterborough.
advice to Government on the best way of improving access to the
English coastline, which has now been accepted.
- Halving the turnaround
times for processing valid Entry Level Stewardship applications
and bringing 4.13 million hectares into the Environmental Stewardship
scheme, an increase of more than 2 million hectares during the
year. This means more than half the total agricultural land area
in England is now providing environmental benefits.
Hilary Benn, Secretary of State for Environment said: “The
Government established Natural England to take forward conservation
of our rich and much loved natural environment. It is fantastic
to see the variety of work Natural England have become involved
in, from wildlife conservation campaigns to their advice to Government
on public access to our coastlines.
“I am determined that we continue to work together to meet
the challenges ahead. Natural England will be spending nearly £3
billion on Environmental Stewardship schemes to help farmers improve
biodiversity, water quality and to tackle climate change. We have
also asked them to develop a strong network of marine protected
areas to conserve our rich marine wildlife.
“All of this work is vital and I congratulate Natural England
on what they’ve achieved in the last twelve months and greatly
look forward to working with them in the months and years ahead.”
A greener future
Dr Helen Phillips, Chief Executive of Natural England, said: “In
our first year, we have established our reputation as the Government’s
independent advisor on the natural environment.
“We championed the need for the Government to take action
to help the country adapt to fifty years of climate change that
are now unavoidable, we have won a commitment from Government to
establish a network of Marine Protected Areas to safeguard the
life beneath our seas, and our advice on opening up England's spectacular
coastline has been accepted.
“We will continue to work with our partners, customers and
the public to build a broader environmental coalition to help shape
a greener future for the people and nature of this country."
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