Help Shape the Nature of England

Our natural environment underpins our economic prosperity, health and wellbeing. Protecting the environment and enhancing biodiversity is one the top three priorities of the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

A key commitment under this priority is the publication of a White Paper on the natural environment by spring 2011. Defra want all interested parties to have a say in shaping the development of the White Paper.

Anyone living in England is invited to tell Defra which parts of the natural environment matter most to them and how they think the environment can best be protected and enhanced.

Ebernoe glade

Photo: Mark Monk-Terry

Only got a couple of minutes?

Defra have produced an online survey consisting of four short questions:

  • Which parts of the natural environment matter most to you?
  • How do you feel you benefit from the natural environment?
  • How do you think we could improve the natural environment?
  • What would encourage you to get involved in protecting the natural environment?

You can visit the survey anytime between now and October 30 to share your views.

Seven Sisters

Photo: Sussex Wildlife Trust

Have a bit more time to spare?

Defra have published a discussion paper

There are 15 questions, which can be broadly grouped into three topic areas:

  • How do we protect, manage and expand the biodiversity resource?
  • How do we best work with local communities, volunteer groups and the general public?
  • How do we develop ecosystem services and plan for biodiversity adaptation to climate change?

Iping Common

Photo: Sussex Wildlife Trust

You can send Defra your ideas and views anytime between now and October 30.

Further information

An independent review of England’s network of wildlife sites has recently been published. Making Space for Nature makes 24 recommendations relating to protection and management of our remaining wildlife sites and the linkages between them, designed to help us reverse biodiversity declines and deliver benefits such as soil protection, clean water and flood moderation. The recommendations include:

  • Establishing ecological restoration zones, that operate over large areas within which significant enhancements of ecological networks can be achieved.
  • Ensuring remaining areas of high conservation value that currently are not well protected are effectively safeguarded.
  • Taking better account of the need to support underpinning ecological processes and of anticipated climate change, when determining boundaries of designated sites.