Cumbria Confirmed As Pilot To Help Recover England’s Nature And Wildlife

Cumbria has been chosen by the government today, Friday August 14, to be a trailblazer and help kick-start moves to recover nature on an England-wide scale.

The county is one of five areas across England that will receive a share of a £1m fund from the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affair to develop a draft ‘Local Nature Recovery Strategy’ (LNRS) pilot.

As part of the Local Nature Recovery Strategy (LNRS) pilot, Cumbria Council in partnership with Natural England, will:

  • develop a set of maps which show most valuable existing sites and habitats for wildlife
  • use these maps to identify opportunities for recovering nature – for wildlife, for people and as a contribution to tackling climate change and improving the environment
  • bring a broad range of groups of people together to identify and agree priorities for restoring nature.

Work will include natural flood management, tree planting, improved access to green spaces and peat restoration, as well as the creation of wildflower habitat for pollinators, all of which are important for both healthy communities and in the fight against climate change. 

Councillor Celia Tibble, Cumbria County Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment, said: “I am delighted that Cumbria has been identified as one of the five Local Nature Recovery Strategy pilot areas nationally. It is an exciting opportunity for us to lead this important initiative.

“These Local Nature Recovery Strategies will combine local knowledge with expert information and it is an exciting opportunity for us to engage with a wide range of people to help create additional habit rich environments across our county.

“Thanks to this announcement our work on this can now start in earnest.”

The LNRS will help bring a broad range of groups together – from farmers to businesses to local communities – to deliver priorities for nature recovery at a local and national level and the pilots will help kick-start the creation of over a million acres of habitats for wildlife.

Chris Kaighin, Natural England area manager for Cumbria, said: “Being chosen as one of the pilots for the Local Nature Recovery Strategies is a fantastic opportunity for Cumbria, to continue to develop a thriving natural in environment for the benefit of residents, businesses and tourists.

“We are working with Cumbria County Council and engaging with partners across the county, including the Lake District National Park Partnership, the Yorkshire Dales National Park, three Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty – Arnside and Silverdale; Solway Coast; and North Pennines – and people who manage Cumbria’s landscapes.

“We will also be engaging widely with members of the public across the county so that the Local Nature Recover Strategy represents the ambitions of communities.”

The pilots will run until March 2021 and will extract learning throughout the projects to develop LNRS policy to inform strategies in other areas.

Natural England chair Tony Juniper said: “If we wish to have rich and abundant wildlife, more carbon captured in trees, soil and hedges, better protection from extreme weather and enough places for people to gain the wellbeing benefits of good quality green spaces, then we must invest in Nature’s recovery, and at scale”.

“National ambitions for Nature’s recovery will need to support local action and today is a significant milestone in doing just this. We look forward to working with our partners in these five areas to create bigger, better and more connected natural places to halt and then reverse the decline in our environment.”

While five areas will drive the first pilots, the forthcoming Environment Bill will go even further – requiring all areas in England to establish LNRSs.

Environment Minister Rebecca Pow said: “Coronavirus is shining a light on the importance of our natural world, and the positive impact nature can have on our health and well-being.

“These first pilots will be a key part of our green recovery and help kick-start the creation of over a million acres of joined up habitats that people can enjoy across the country.”