England’s first Nature Improvement Areas started work on the 1 April 2012 and are making good progress. The first year's Monitoring and Evaluation report can be viewed from the NIA M&E pages.
Details of the Nature Improvement Areas and the Programme are contained on this website.
Professor Sir John Lawton said: “One of the things that struck me forcefully when I have been visiting [NIAs] is the huge amount of enthusiasm, collaboration and vision in every consortium.... I’m amazed by how much has been achieved already, as this report makes abundantly clear. I always knew that making more space for nature in the NIAs would take time ... But looking at what has been achieved in this first year, I think we will all be pleasantly surprised by where we are by 2015.”
The twelve initial NIAs extend from Morecambe Bay in the North West to the Wild Purbeck in the South West.
These areas will become much better places for wildlife – creating more and better-connected habitats at a landscape scale, providing space for wildlife to thrive and adapt to climate change.
They will help people as well as wildlife – through enhancing a wide range of benefits that nature provides, such as recreation opportunities, flood protection, cleaner water and carbon storage.
They will also help to unite local communities, landowners and businesses through a shared vision for a better future for people and wildlife. We hope they will become places of inspiration that are loved by current and future generations.
The twelve NIAs now in their second year of activity across hundreds of thousands of hectares, where locally-led projects have a share of the governments £7.5 million, taking action that will benefit wildlife and people, and encourage more local people to engage with nature. This relatively modest investment by Defra and Natural England has already attracted over £40million of additional resources, from cash contributions, gifts in kind, and voluntary support.
The twelve NIAs were winners in a national competition announced in the Natural Environment White Paper.
Poul Christensen, Chair of Natural England, commented: “It’s exciting to see this new, innovative approach to nature conservation come to life – local partnerships taking the lead, working with land owners and managers to create new wildlife strongholds; better places for people to live and to enjoy; and new opportunities and new livelihoods too.”
Local Nature Partnerships and local planning authorities can now identify and agree where locally determined NIAs can take shape. These are distinct from the 12 initial NIAs who were awarded NIA status and a share of the £7.5 million funding.
Locally Determined NIAs are encouraged to apply the criteria, the M&E framework and lessons learnt from the 12 initial NIAs to help inform their development and progress. Resources and support to be identified and addressed locally.
If you have any queries about the scheme please contact:
Brian McDonald, Programme Manager
Judith Milne, Programme Officer