The Natural Environment White Paper was published on the 07 June 2011, and one of its proposals was for Local Nature Partnerships. The idea is to bring a wide variety of different groups of people together to collectively come up with plans and visions of how the environment can be improved.
The recent proposals say that the Government wants to improve the environment by working with the different groups that make up the local communities. By forming partnerships and encouraging cooperation between these different groups, they hope to contribute to a greener environment and their vision of a Green Economy. In a recent statement, Defra said: “Local Nature Partnerships will link action to protect and improve the natural environment with wider national and local social and economic priorities.”
The Main Aims of Local Nature Partnerships:
- Identification of zones requiring ecological restoration
- The integration of local land management policies, decision making and incentives to re-establish and improve key ecosystem “services” such as food and climate control
- Co-operating with local authorities
- Providing inspiration to communities and individuals alike, compelling them to get involved with local projects
The government proposes to encourage and facilitate partnerships between local authorities, land owners, local businesses, environmental charities, local businesses and many other groups. They also plan to develop and expand existing partnerships in place to improve the environment. The Government seems to be placing an emphasis on people in a local community working together so that everyone is equally aware and accountable for the current issues in our environment.
Defra has an initial fund of £1 million, but after that the partnerships are expected to fund themselves. Many people have criticised the fact that such a small amount of money has been made available for these partnerships, particularly when they are supposed to be both large and long-term. Applications for partially funded partnerships need to be submitted by 31st July 2011. As with the Nature Improvement Areas, Defra wants to start off with twelve initial areas.
Strong partnerships between appropriate groups of people will undoubtedly help to sustain and improve local environments all over the country. However, it is essential that the government helps to ensure these partnerships are correctly established and appropriately funded. Without this we believe it is questionable whether they will be successful. Some local authorities already place a great deal of importance on trying to improve the environment, but this can sometimes be an uphill struggle particularly in light of the public sector cuts currently taking place. It is hoped that effectively implemented Local Nature Partnerships will make it easier for positive change to be made to the environment.