Published: Friday, 29th May 2015
Many of England’s top wildlife sites are under threat from pollution, inappropriate grazing (particularly by deer) and the impact of invasive species.
That’s the assessment of a report just published as part of Natural England’s project to establish the long-term management of the country’s 338 Natura 2000 sites. These include Special Protection Areas (SPAs) and Special Areas of Conservation (SACs). Most are also Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).
The initiative, known as the improvement programme for England’s Natura 2000 sites (IPENS) project, sets out a blueprint for the long-term management of these designated sites.
They include some of the country’s most familiar landscapes including the Northumberland coast, the New Forest, the Norfolk Broads and Salisbury Plain.
There are 338 Natura 2000 sites in England, in both marine and terrestrial locations, covering more than two million hectares.
A site improvement plan has been produced covering every site. The plans present the best available evidence in support of actions required to achieve and maintain sites in a good condition. More than 6,000 specific actions have been identified in the individual plans.
These include the need to draw up local plans to improve habitat connectivity, more adaptive coastal management and a programme of both lake and river restoration.
Dr Andy Clements, Natural England board member and director of the British Trust for Ornithology, said: “England has a diverse range of habitats resulting in a wonderfully rich and varied wildlife. The IPENS project has enabled Natural England, the Environment Agency and other partners to more effectively target our conservation efforts on Natura 2000 network sites and surrounding areas.”