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Natural England Reviews Evidence of Uplands Study
2012-06-21

Over recent months, Natural England has established a major programme to review its delivery work in the uplands. As part of this programme a wide-ranging review is being conducted of the evidence on biodiversity and ecosystem services in the uplands, and the impact of land management activities upon them.

photo © Jennifer MacKenzie

Gallow cattle in the uplands

The Evidence Review is now underway and and anyone with an interest in the issues being covered is invited to contribute by submitting evidence to the independent expert group that has been specially set up to oversee the evidence review process. Submissions for Phase 1 of the review are invited by 20 July 2012. Phase 2 runs between 20 July 2012 and 14 September 2012.

The evidence review will focus on five key areas:

Phase 1

  • Understanding the impacts of tracks and vehicle use on soils, hydrology and their impacts on biodiversity.

  • Evaluating the impacts of managed burning on peatland biodiversity and ecosystem services

  • Identifying appropriate management regimes for sustaining biodiversity in upland hay meadows.

Phase 2

  • Determining environmentally sustainable stocking regimes on moorland

  • Assessing the feasibility of restoring degraded blanket bog

Clearly, there are many other upland issues where a review of the evidence would be beneficial. A record of other topics suggested during the Phase 1 and 2 Evidence Review rounds will be maintained for future reviews.

Professor Colin Galbraith will chair the review and the review will be carried out by a group of independent experts from a range of backgrounds and who have a wealth of knowledge and experience of the uplands.

Professor Galbraith said, “It is really important that Natural England’s advice and decisions are based on sound evidence. Carrying out this review is an excellent way of making sure that they use the best available evidence and that anyone with an interest in the issues being covered has an opportunity to contribute evidence.”

Ian Fugler, Natural England’s Director of Uplands, said: “The Evidence Review is a vital opportunity to ensure that our wider delivery work in the uplands is consistent, and is underpinned by the best available evidence. We look forward to hearing directly from stakeholders and land managers and benefitting from the knowledge and experience of the uplands that they bring.”

Alongside the Evidence Review, the wider Uplands Delivery Review Programme is also involved in three other major strands of work focusing on:

  • Defining a set of principles (a Natural England Uplands Strategic Standard) that will guide all of our work in the uplands

  • Identifying and communicating the shared outcomes we want to achieve with our customers and partners in the uplands

  • Ensuring our staff have the appropriate skills, knowledge and tools

Ian Fugler concluded: “Our Uplands Delivery Review Programme is a major initiative to improve the work we deliver in the uplands and strengthen our working relationships with those who own and actively manage them. The uplands are a hugely significant natural resource and in reviewing our uplands work we are committed to doing all we can to help deliver a sustainable and prosperous future for these beautiful and much-loved landscapes and the communities that live within them”.

The Review will focus on five issues and the evidence gathering process will be divided into two phases.

The first phase will take place between now and 20 July and will focus on:

  • Impacts of tracks and vehicle use on soil structure and hydrology and their impacts on biodiversity

  • Impacts of managed burning on peatland biodiversity and ecosystem services.

  • Appropriate management regimes for sustaining biodiversity in upland hay meadows.

The second phase will take place between 20 July and 14 September and will focus on:

  • Determination of environmentally sustainable stocking regimes on moorland.

  • Feasibility of restoring degraded blanket bog including areas such as drainage, vegetation cover (peat forming species), and climate change.

link Can Sustainable Intensification Feed the World?
link New Natural England Team Strengthens Focus on Farming Sector
link Extinct Bumblebee Makes UK Return Thanks to Kent Farmers

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