Natural England is helping to deliver a better natural environment by working with others, including local communities and civil society. We encourage landscape-scale partnerships across urban, rural, coastal and marine areas, supporting them to help them achieve their visions.
In particular, we work closely with the Environment Agency and Forestry Commission on a daily basis all over England. We have brought together a set of case studies to illustrate how this works at a local level. Through these we want to celebrate our successes, share our achievements and stimulate further imitation and duplication across the country.
Separately, we are helping deliver a range of other civil society partnerships and exploring a more localised approach.
The Marine Conservation Zones Project has been working since 2009. The four groups – Balanced Seas, Finding Sanctuary, Irish Sea Conservation Zones and Net Gain – have involved and engaged with a wide range of people who have an interest in the future of our seas; and these stakeholders’ final recommendations for MCZs are the result of two years’ dedicated hard work and collaboration.
Delivering Nature’s Services – a partnership project to demonstrate that investment and improvement in the natural environment can result in multiple benefits for wildlife and society.
The Making Environmental Stewardship More Effective (MESME) project is considering how we might apply civil society principals to agri-environment delivery.
Our Natural Character Area (NCA) profiles will encourage greater community engagement and will become a valuable tool to inform local decision making.
The Improvement Programme for England’s Natura 2000 Sites (IPENS), supported by EU LIFE+, is a new strategic approach to managing England’s Natura 2000 sites. It will enable Natural England, the Environment Agency, and other key partners to plan what, how, where and when they will target their efforts on Natura 2000 sites and on land surrounding them.
Local Access Forums improve access at a local level and resolve problems by advising highway authorities and other local organisations, such as National Park Authorities.
The Natural Leaders programme helping us target our resources into the right places.
The ‘Single Voice’ approach with the Environment Agency and the Forestry Commission is increasing our contact with local authorities.
The National Nature Reserves Review is exploring options for greater civil society involvement in the management and enjoyment of NNRs.
Through the National Trails Review we are working with civil society and local communities to find sustainable solutions to the management and maintenance of National Trails.
Coastal Voice, the representative group of local coastal communities, is giving us the opportunity to work directly with a range of local communities
The Access to Nature scheme is supporting 115 community projects involving well over 1.5 million people, some of whom live in very deprived communities.
The Natural Connections initiative involves working with more than 30 civil society organisations to significantly increase numbers of school aged children experiencing the benefits of learning in natural environments
The Neighbourhoods Green initiative is giving us an excellent opportunity to enable social housing communities to shape the green space on their doorsteps, promoting better health, well-being and social inclusion, increasing biodiversity and preparing for climate change. The project is funded by the National Housing Federation, Keep Britain Tidy, Groundwork, CABE space and Natural England.
Our Green Letter days give all Natural England staff the opportunity to become fully involved in local community initiatives and work with civil society organisations.
Our focus in supporting the work of local communities is to:
Provide evidence – Natural England has access to a wide range of evidence and information that will enable civil society to make informed choices.
Provide advice, guidance and support – Natural England has a wealth of experience that can be used to support and encourage civil society to take positive action when it is required.
Develop opportunities – Working with business or others to provide opportunities that can be managed by others and create opportunities for local communities.
We are working to provide this support through:
development of a Natural Environment toolkit – providing online information, advice and evidence to help local communities improve both the access and quality of their natural environment.
prioritising areas and then providing expertise and enthusiasm to help others in improving access to – and quality of – their natural environment.