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We know we need to do more to recover nature and increase the benefits it provides to our people and our economy.
Defra and Natural England are bringing together partners, legislation and funding, to create the Nature Recovery Network (NRN). Together, we will deliver the Network by restoring and enhancing England’s wildlife-rich places.
Creating a national network
The NRN will be a national network of wildlife-rich places. Our aim is to expand, improve and connect these places across our towns, cities and countryside.
The NRN is a major commitment in the government’s 25 Year Environment Plan and part of the forthcoming Nature Strategy.
What the NRN will achieve
The NRN will help us deal with 3 of the biggest challenges we face: biodiversity loss, climate change and wellbeing.
Establishing the NRN will:
- enhance sites designated for nature conservation and other wildlife-rich places - newly created and restored wildlife-rich habitats, corridors and stepping stones will help wildlife populations to grow and move
- improve the landscape’s resilience to climate change, providing natural solutions to reduce carbon and manage flood risk, and sustaining vital ecosystems such as improved soil, clean water and clean air
- reinforce the natural and cultural diversity of our landscapes, and protect our historic natural environment
- enable us to enjoy and connect with nature where we live, work and play - benefiting our health and wellbeing
Through our work to create the NRN, by 2042 we will:
- restore 75% of protected sites on land (including freshwaters) to favourable condition so nature can thrive
- create or restore 500,000 hectares of additional wildlife-rich habitat outside of protected sites
- recover threatened and iconic animal and plant species by providing more, diverse and better connected habitats
- support work to increase woodland cover
- achieve a range of environmental, economic and social benefits, such as carbon capture, flood management, clean water, pollination and recreation
How we will set up the NRN
To set up and achieve our objectives for the NRN we will:
- use mapping and data, especially Local Nature Recovery Strategies (LNRS)
- create partnerships, including the NRN Delivery Partnership
- integrate our goals for nature with funding streams and land management duties
Use mapping and data
We will use maps and data to identify priorities for nature’s recovery. Locally developed strategies, LNRS, are due to be introduced by the Environment Bill. These will help us to plan, prioritise and target action and investment in nature at a regional level across England. These strategies will help us to map the NRN locally and nationally.
Working together is essential to deliver the NRN. We will work in partnership with organisations and across sectors, sharing skills, knowledge and resources, to help achieve the objectives of the NRN. This partnership working includes government, land owners and managers, businesses, local communities and conservation groups.
We have set up the NRN Delivery Partnership to support partnership working.
Integrate funding and land management duties
We are establishing a range of funding and duties to underpin the NRN. This includes Countryside Stewardship and Environmental Land Management. As part of our Environmental Land Management scheme, over the next 4 years we will establish 10 Landscape Recovery projects to restore wilder landscapes, with a focus on large-scale sites.
This year (2020) the government announced further funding for nature. Our Nature for Climate Fund will provide significant funding to create, restore and manage woodland and peatland habitats. Our Green Recovery Challenge Fund, which has recently been doubled to a total of £80 million, will create a pipeline of nature-based projects to restore nature, tackle climate change and connect people with the natural environment.
We are also broadening the funding base for the Network, for example by encouraging private and third sector businesses to invest in the natural environment. In particular, we are incentivising action for businesses in the development sector by mandating biodiversity net gain.
Legislation to support the NRN
The Environment Bill underpins the government’s approach to establishing the NRN. The Environment Bill:
- sets the framework for at least one legally binding biodiversity target
- establishes spatial mapping and planning tools to identify existing and potential habitat for wildlife and agrees local priorities for enhancing biodiversity in every area of England (LNRS)
- creates duties and incentives, including mandatory biodiversity net gain
NRN Delivery Partnership
The NRN Delivery Partnership is a broad network of cross-sectoral organisations who work together to carry out action for nature. They are supported by the partnership management group.
Organisations within any sector who are willing to commit to nature’s recovery can join this partnership. This includes private business, charities and the government sector.
Natural England will encourage partners to pledge support to achieve the objectives of the NRN. These pledges will vary depending on the organisation. Examples include providing:
- land for nature recovery
- financial investment
- advice, time or expertise
Partners will have networking opportunities, including an annual NRN conference, workshops and meetings.
Become an NRN Delivery Partner
To express an interest in becoming an NRN Delivery Partner, contact Natural England’s NRN partnership team: NDPNaturerecovery@naturalengland.org.uk
We will then organise a meeting to discuss your contribution to the NRN.
NRN Partnership Management Group
The management group oversees the Delivery Partnership. It is led by Natural England and supported by Defra, the Environment Agency and the Forestry Commission.
The management group will:
- initiate, coordinate and advise on action to recover nature
- collate and assist in developing mapping and advice
- maintain an overview of progress to achieve the NRN’s objectives
- help to secure external funding
Members of the management group
The management group is made up of government organisations and a wide range of sectoral representatives.
- Natural England
- Environment Agency
- Forestry Commission
- Forestry England
- Rural Payments Agency
- Ministry of Defence
- Ministry of Justice
- Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government
- Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
- Department for Transport
- landowners – Country Land and Business Association (CLA)
- people and engagement – Wildlife Trusts
- conservation – Wildlife Countryside Link
- woodland conservation – Woodland Trust
- species – Rethink Nature
- birds – Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB)
- protected landscapes – National Association for Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (NAAONB)
- access and recreation – National Parks England
- health – Academy for Social Prescriptions
- urban engagement – Wild in the City
- science and academia – British Ecological Society
- business – Council for Sustainable Business
- farming – National Farmers’ Union (NFU)
- commercial forestry – Confederation of Forest Industries (CONFOR)
- transport – Network Rail
- water – Water UK
- development and net gain – House Builders Federation
- finance and funding – UK Sustainable Finance Association
- local government – Local Government Association