Natural England Publishes First Annual Report

Natural England has today published its first annual report and a manifesto setting out the action needed “to set the nation on a greener path”.

The report reveals that, amongst other findings:

  • The natural environment is less rich than 50 years ago and remains under threat from a significant number of pressures: from more intense land and sea use, economic development and climate change.
  • Lack of woodland management has caused a 50% decline in species of native woodland butterfly.
  • Well-managed, targeted projects can have successful outcomes: the long-term decline of farmland birds is slowing due to more environmentally friendly farming practices.

The report also reveals that more species are colonising urban environments. In the 12 years to 2006, pigeons, green woodpeckers, goldfinches and great tit populations all increased in cities and towns. Birds, bees and other insects are leaving intensively farmed rural areas for urban gardens and brownfield sites.

Natural England has pledged to publish a map of suitable areas for onshore wind farm development and to better allocate the £2.9billion it governs under green management schemes to support people and nature in adapting to climate change. The agency also plans to connect existing wildlife sites through a “wildlife super-highway”. Natural England has called for a more joined up, landscape-scale approach to conservation.