Plans should cover more

A NEW Government initiative should only be the start of measures to help the natural environment, warns Northumberland Wildlife Trust.

A competition to identify 12 Nature Improvement Areas (NIAs) has been welcomed by the organisation, but it believes the restoration process must take place with greater urgency and across a much larger area than proposed in current plans.

NIAs, as laid out in the Natural Environment White Paper, will aim to increase the resilience of the UK’s natural environment through encouraging individuals and groups to co-ordinate their efforts by working at a larger scale.

The wildlife charity has long held that a partnership-led, landscape-scale approach to conservation is the only way to secure nature’s recovery.

It is being practiced and championed by The Wildlife Trusts nationally through 112 Living Landscape schemes around the UK.

Steve Lowe, Head of Conservation at Northumberland Wildlife Trust, said: “Only by taking a strategic view and involving local communities will we be able to secure the survival of wildlife-rich places, and aid nature’s recovery in the face of pressures such as development and climate change.

“The competition to identify 12 NIAs is a start, but we urgently need to see more of these areas identified across the country and supported in local policy.

“With the right level of ambition, commitment and a more innovative approach to funding, the outcome could be not just bigger nature reserves but healthy flowing rivers and a landscape bursting with wildlife, from which landowners can make a living and all can enjoy.”