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England-wide action for nature: Nature Recovery Network launches

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A countryside scene in Purbeck
Natural England brings government, conservationists, businesses, farmers and landowners together to drive forward the delivery of an England-wide network for nature

There is coverage in today’s Times, Daily Telegraph and BBC Radio 4 Farming Today, reporting on the launch of the Nature Recovery Network (NRN) Delivery Partnership which was kicked off today at a virtual Natural England event.

The NRN Delivery Partnership, led by Natural England, brings together representatives from over 600 organisations to drive forward the restoration of protected sites and landscapes and help provide at least 500,000 hectares of new wildlife-rich habitat across England as set out in the government’s 25 Year Environment Plan.

The partners, including the Council for Sustainable Business, Wildlife and Countryside Link, National Parks England, RSPB and the Country Land and Business Association, alongside Defra, the Environment Agency and the Forestry Commission, will be providing a wide range of support including funding and land to be restored. Today Natural England called for even more organisations to be part of the initiative, organisations already giving their support include Coca-Cola, Network Rail and Severn Trent Water.

The Nature Recovery Network aims to restore habitats to encourage biodiversity, linking together our very best nature rich places, restore landscapes in towns and the countryside.

Launching the Nature Recovery Network initiative, Natural England chair Tony Juniper said:

We are firing the starting gun on England’s Nature Recovery Network, backed by the biggest ever collaboration between government, business and charities to drive forward the biggest programme for nature recovery in England’s history. The natural world upon which we all depend has for far too long been in decline, and now is the moment when we must change our approach, to move beyond preserving what little remains and to embark on restoration at scale.

Achieving nature recovery is a complex task that can only be realised through partnerships. These are needed to bring together the people who manage land and sea, the different sources of investment and knowledge that we need to make progress, the variety of official policies we have, and to make the most of the passion of the many leaders who are ready to step up to deliver action on the ground. Our vision is for that network of organisations and people to create a network of places that will bring huge benefits for wildlife, landscapes and people. It is an ambitious idea, but the fact is that in different parts of the country it’s already happening, and we should take great encouragement from that.

The Nature Recovery Network will:

- Restore 75% of protected sites to favourable condition so nature can thrive.

- Create or restore at least 500,000 additional hectares of wildlife-rich habitat outside of protected sites.

- Recover our threatened and iconic animal and plant species by providing more habitat and wildlife corridors to help species move in response to climate change.

- Support the planting of 180,000 hectares of woodland.

- Deliver a range of wider benefits, including carbon capture, flood management, clean water, pollination and recreation.

- Bring nature much closer to people, where they live, work, and play, boosting health and wellbeing.

International Environment Minister Lord Goldsmith, who spoke at the virtual NRN launch event today, said:

Our country’s rich biodiversity and ecosystems are under threat, and that is true all around the world. Last month at the UN, seventy five leaders registered their support for our ambitious Leader’s Pledge for Nature to put nature and biodiversity on the road to recovery by 2030. Our duty now is to turn those words into meaningful action.

I am thrilled that we are launching a partnership to help deliver the biggest nature recovery project in England’s history, which will restore our depleted ecosystems and habitats as we continue to build back greener.

Environment Minister Rebecca Pow, speaking about the launch of the partnership, said:

Delivering a Nature Recovery Network is fundamental for achieving our goals for nature – enhancing the quality of our existing areas for nature, restoring and creating new habitats, and linking all of these together. It is only with bigger, better, well-connected habitats that we can recover our beloved species and address the greatest challenges we face – from climate change to declines in mental health.

We cannot deliver the Nature Recovery Network alone. We are providing new legislation, tools and funding, but it is together that we will deliver the network of wildlife-rich places that allow nature and people to flourish.

The Nature Recovery Network is a major commitment in the government’s 25 Year Environment Plan. It is underpinned by ‘Local Nature Recovery Strategies’ (LNRS), established through our landmark Environment Bill, which will provide the spatial mapping and planning tools to inform nature recovery. Additional funding of over £650m, including the government’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund and Nature for Climate Fund will help drive the Nature Recovery Network forward.

Earlier this year, Natural England and Defra announced that five local authorities will receive a share of a £1 million fund to pilot how LNRS can drive the recovery of England’s landscapes and wildlife locally.

The Nature Recovery Network will also be key to England’s recovery from coronavirus. The Natural England people survey revealed that the nation’s gardens, parks, woodlands and rivers have played a huge part in helping maintain their mental health during the coronavirus pandemic, with almost nine in ten adults in England reporting that access to nature boosts their mood.

To express an interest in becoming a Nature Recovery Network Delivery Partner, contact Natural England’s Nature Recovery Network partnership team: We will then organise a meeting to discuss your contribution to the Nature Recovery Network.

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