Response for Nature

In our first addition to the Knowledge Hub, Greenway Ecological provide a review of the recent ‘Response for Nature’ report, starting with a brief introduction to the supporting State of Nature Report.

The State of Nature

In 2013, twenty-five of the top UK’s wildlife organisations including the RSPB, the Bat Conservation Trust, Plantlife and the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew as well as many other conservation charities, biological recording societies and research organisations undertook a health check of nature in the UK and its Overseas Territories. The resulting publication: The State of Nature Report revealed that 60% of all species studied had declined over recent decades, with more than one in ten of all the species assessed under threat of disappearing altogether. The five main pressures on nature were identified as habitat change (loss, degradation and fragmentation), climate change, pollution, over-exploitation and invasive non-native species. The results were alarming; now, more than ever, it was clear that nature was in trouble. The State of Nature Report is freely available for download here.

Response for Nature

Two years on and the same coalition of wildlife organisations have again joined forces in an attempt to address the devastating rate of species decline and make nature’s voice heard. The ‘Response for Nature Report,’ launched in London on 13th October 2015 by BAFTA award winning naturalist, writer and TV presenter Steve Backshall and the 26 partnership organisation members, outlines to the Government the key actions that need to be taken to improve the fate of nature in the UK.

The Conservative Party in their 2015 manifesto made a commitment to the creation of a 25 Year Plan to restore the UK’s biodiversity. It is hoped that the Responses for Nature Report will be a key driver in the delivery of the Government’s long-term commitment to biodiversity, and is a report that we at Greenway Ecological stand fully behind. In creation of the Government’s 25 Year Plan, the Response for Nature Report makes 10 key recommendations:

1.      Include an inspiring vision for the natural environment and a sustainable economy

Nature needs to be part of our lives. To achieve this, the Government must set a trajectory for nature’s recovery so that, by 2040, we have a country richer in nature on land and at sea. The plan should be multi-faceted and include inputs required from the Government, business, landowners, civil society and the public. Saving nature cannot be the job of just one Government department.

2.      Set Government goals for nature and natural capital

To help encourage nature’s recovery, the plan should include realistic but ambitious outcomes, ensuring a better safeguard for more of our land and sea.

3.      Defend and implement the laws that conserve nature

Our most important EU laws that safeguard species and special places – the Birds and Habitats Directives – are under threat. The Government must resist attempts from Europe to weaken our wildlife legislation and work to improve the recovery and maintenance of the favourable conservation status of our most important species and habitats.

4.      Deliver an ecological network on land and at sea

Our special places need to be protected, well managed and linked at the landscape scale, providing space for both people and nature to live.

5.      Safeguard and restore species

The rate of species’ extinctions must be halted and priority species restored to favourable conservation status through the restoration and connection of habitats. Our most threatened species must be treated to specific, targeted action to restore these species to a healthy state.

6.      Improve the connection of people to nature, to deliver benefits for health and wellbeing

People are inherently a part of nature and being connected with nature has been shown to have significant benefits to human health, well-being and social equality. Our children are the next stewards of the natural environment and our long term vision must ensure every child will learn about, and connect with, nature.

7.      Provide smarter financial instruments for nature

To save nature, we need to reward those who enhance our natural world, and make those responsible pay when we take more from it more than we put back.

8.      Develop greener institutions and embed nature across Government

Nature needs to be valued better both intrinsically and monetarily, and taken into account across all sectors. Our whole economy relies on nature. Real wealth is about more than GDP: it is about better lives.

9.      Set five-year milestones with accountability to Parliament

In order for the 25-year Plan to work, short 5-year milestones must be created with success criteria, regular monitoring and reporting. The Plan must align itself with existing commitments in Biodiversity 2020.

10.      Support people working together for nature

All of us have a part to play in saving nature. Each and every one of us needs to care about, and take action for, nature – before it’s too late. We can only save nature by working together. The report is free to download here.

What’s next for the project? 

For the partner organisations, the next phase of the project will be working with businesses to develop a Business Response for Nature. Greenway Ecological will be keeping an eye on any developments and reporting back to you.

Greenway’s ‘Response for Nature’

Greenway Ecological is committed to not only halting the decline in the UK’s protected species, but to providing positive conservation benefits through new habitat creation and restoration, and targeted ecological mitigation. As an ecological landscaping practice, protection and enhancement of the natural environment lies at the heart of the work we do.

We agree strongly with the recommendation of the Responses for Nature Report to support collaborative working in conservation and urge all business and the public to ‘do their bit’ for nature. Through our close working relationships with ecologists we are able to provide tangible benefits to a range of the UK’s protected species and habitats.

It is important that the general public are engaged in conservation and become custodians of their environment. Greenway Ecological will strive to support community, grass roots movements to deliver positive net gains to biodiversity at all levels.

To find out how you can help nature, for advice on a particular wildlife project or to discuss any matter of the above article, please Contact Greenway Ecological.

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