Cornwall to take lead in nature recovery

Posted on: 18th August 2020

Great news for Cornwall’s precious habitat and species. And big congratulations to Cornwall Council the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Nature Partnership and Cllr Edwina Hannaford for demonstrating the determination and creative ambition to make this happen.

Cornwall is one of just a few places in the country chosen to lead nature recovery. It may be just £1m shared across five local authorities, but it’s an important recognition of Cornwall’s leading role.

Our natural world is vitally important in itself. But it is also critically important in underpinning economic prosperity and social wellbeing. Especially here in Cornwall. I will do all I can to ensure this a huge success.

The Conservative Government is of course always keen to green-wash itself. But we see their true colours when the mask slips as they turn their guns on our badgers, or back developers or the Prime minister dismisses nature conservation as “newt counting”, which he asserts gets in the way of his kind of progress.

So it’s great to see Cornwall being given a role on the national stage.

The following is taken from Cornwall Council’s recent news release:

Cornwall to play national role in recovery of the country’s nature and wildlife

Cornwall has been chosen by the government to help kickstart the recovery of wildlife.

Cornwall Council will receive a share of a £1m fund to launch a Local Nature Recovery Strategy to map the most valuable sites for wildlife and identify areas where nature can be restored.

This could see the creation of more wildflower habitats for pollinators, additional green amenity spaces for residents and new woodlands, building on the Council’s ambitious plans to plant the 8,000-hectare Forest for Cornwall over the next decade.

The pilot will sit alongside the authority’s ground-breaking climate change action plan to help Cornwall work towards becoming carbon neutral by 2030, ensuring that the recovery of nature is prioritised alongside efforts to reduce impact on the climate.

It will also help deliver the Council’s commitments in the Cornwall Environmental Growth Strategy.

Cornwall Council will lead one of five pilot projects across the country that will underpin the Nature Recovery Network– a flagship element of the government’s 25 Year Environment Plan. The Nature Recovery Network will benefit people and wildlife by increasing, improving and joining-up wildlife-rich sites across England.

Other pilots will be led by Buckinghamshire Unitary Authority, Northumberland Unitary Authority, Greater Manchester Combined Authority and Cumbria County Council who will be working to support natural flood management, access to green space, tree planting and peat restoration.

While five areas will drive the first pilots to establish the proposed Local Nature Recovery Strategies. They will help bring a broad range of groups together – from farmers to businesses to local communities – to deliver priorities for nature recovery at a local and national level and the pilots will help kick-start the creation of over a million acres of habitats for wildlife. This approach will have collaboration at its heart, with solutions coming from partners across Cornwall.

Natural England Chair Tony Juniper said: “If we wish to have rich and abundant wildlife, more carbon captured in trees, soil and hedges, better protection from extreme weather and enough places for people to gain the wellbeing benefits of good quality green spaces, then we must invest in nature’s recovery, and at scale”.

“National ambitions for nature’s recovery will need to support local action and today is a significant milestone in doing just this. We look forward to working with our partners in these five areas to create bigger, better and more connected natural places to halt and then reverse the decline in our environment.”

Edwina Hannaford, Cornwall Council’s portfolio holder for climate change and neighbourhoods, said: “Cornwall’s designation as a Local Nature Recovery Strategy area means we can build on our strong track record of working together with communities to help nature and tackle the climate emergency, as seen in our ambitious Forest for Cornwall programme and our award-winning Making Space for Nature project.

“It will enable us to strengthen local partnerships as we continue our work in restoring nature, reducing carbon emissions and protecting and improving the environment for our residents.

“Working in partnership with a range of organisations such as the Cornwall and Tamar Valley AONBs and utilising the strategic leadership of the Local Nature Partnership, we will build on the tremendous work that has already been undertaken in Cornwall to ensure that the recovery of our natural environments goes hand in hand with our efforts to support our economy and communities in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We see this pilot as a stepping stone towards a greater appreciation of our natural places, reversing the decline in nature that has impacted on Cornwall, the UK and the world over many decades and placing the health and wealth of our environment on the same footing as economic and social wellbeing.”

Natural England’s area manager, Wesley Smyth said: “The inclusion of Cornwall as one of the Local Nature Reserve Strategy pilot sites is a fantastic reflection of the environmental leadership shown by Cornwall Council’s and the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Nature Partnership (LNP). This pilot will build on Cornwall’s pioneering approach to introducing biodiversity Net Gain, to initiating a land use planning approach in meeting the challenges of climate change and in understanding the contribution nature recovery makes to a healthy environment on which Cornwall’s economy and the health of its communities depend.”

Environment Minister Rebecca Pow said: “Coronavirus is shining a light on the importance of our natural world, and the positive impact nature can have on our health and well-being.

“These first pilots will be a key part of our green recovery and help kick-start the creation of over a million acres of joined up habitats that people can enjoy across the country.”

Notes to Editors:

Defra is investing around £1million in the five pilots which will be run in collaboration with Natural England.

Each Local Nature Recovery Strategy pilot will:

develop a set of maps which show most valuable existing sites and habitats for wildlife
use these maps to identify opportunities for recovering nature – for wildlife, for people and as a contribution to tackling climate change and improving the environment
bring a broad range of groups of people together to identify and agree priorities for restoring nature.
The Nature Recovery Network will create or restore 500,000 hectares of wildlife habitat outside protected sites, more effectively linking existing protected sites and landscapes, as well as urban green infrastructure (such as trees, hedgerows, parks, fields, forests) and urban blue infrastructure (such as rainwater tanks, bioswales, rivers, canals, ponds, wetlands, and floodplains).