North Devon Landscape Pioneer
North Devon chosen to explore future environmental management in innovative pioneer project
On the 11th of January the Prime Minister launched the 25 Year Environment Plan. This plan will inform the approach to environmental management post EU Exit, aiming to improve the state of the environment for wildlife and future generations within 25 years.
To inform the content of the 25 year environment plan, four pioneer projects have been set up around the country. North Devon has been chosen to host the Landscape Pioneer. Natural England will be leading the project, trialling innovative and exciting new approaches to manage farmland, natural habitats, watercourses, coasts and urban environments in a better way for people and nature. The pioneer will be looking at new methods of funding environmental improvements and drawing on strategic decision making to improve the capacity of current resources.
The Landscape Pioneer is led by Natural England (NE) and is based in the North Devon UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. This Pioneer is testing the use of natural capital in determining environmental priorities and agreeing actions to target them. At its heart is an innovative process for creating a shared plan that identifies where investment in natural capital is most needed and securing new investment for those projects in the Pioneer area.
The Pioneer has already mapped how existing funding for natural capital is distributed across the Biosphere Reserve. Then building on the work the Biosphere has previously done the Pioneer identified the ecosystem services that are provided by the different land uses and has been working with stakeholders to value them and assess how they change over time. Investment priorities – such as water quality or natural flood management – will be established jointly with partners, based on this assessment.
The Pioneer will explore a new local governance model, design and trial a payment for environment services land management scheme for farming, and test natural capital as a tool for engaging communities with the benefits provided by their environment. The Pioneer will also develop our approach to net environment gain through strategic planning building on the biodiversity offsetting work the Biosphere has already done. This should increase investment in North Devon’s most valued natural capital (our landscapes, woodlands and coasts) in the medium to longer term.
If you would like to know more about the project please contact Dr Jo Traill Thomson at: email@example.com