A key proposal of the Natural Environment White Paper (2011) was the creation of Nature Improvement Areas (NIAs). These are initiatives with the aim to create joined up and resilient ecological networks at a landscape-scale. Defra has empowered Local Nature Partnerships to establish new, locally determined NIAs wherever the opportunities or benefits are greatest.
What are NIA’s
|NIAs are large (in the region of 10,000-50,000 ha), discrete areas that, by taking a landscape– scale approach, will deliver a step change in nature conservation, where a local partnership has a shared vision for their natural environment.|
|The partnership will plan and deliver significant improvements for wildlife and people through the sustainable use of natural resources, restoring and creating wildlife habitats, connecting local sites and joining up action.|
|The aim is to ensure that the land is used sustainably to achieve multiple benefits for people, wildlife and the economy. NIA’s should not stifle sustainable development. The partnership will be able to demonstrate measurable improvements and share information on their achievements|
|Become much better places for wildlife - provide opportunities to deliver and improve ecological networks, enhancing existing wildlife sites, improving ecological connectivity and/or creating new sites|
|Deliver for people as well as wildlife – Develop a shared vision for the natural environment among a wide partnership of local people, inspiring people through an enhanced experience of the outside world. Enhance the wide range of benefits that nature provides such as recreation, flood protection, clean water, carbon storage.|
|Better integration of the surrounding land use within valued landscapes and natural processes|
|“Win-win‟ opportunities are identified and have the potential to be exploited to the full to derive multiple benefits.|
We recognise the contribution NIAs can make towards achieving a thriving natural environment, delivery of Biodiversity 2020 and halting the 60% decline in biodiversity in the UK over the last 30 years, and support the establishment of NIAs where appropriate.
Selecting Local NIA’s
An application process for the designation of local NIA’s has now been agreed by the Natural Environment Group. Further details can be found below.
Applications can be made at anytime and will be considered within the next round of partnership meetings. For more information please contact the partnership officers.