Over the last 20 years the natural environment has undergone significant change, particularly in Durham and south and east Northumberland. The end of coal mining in the region left a considerable negative environmental legacy. Collective action since then has worked to restore, enhance and conserve the environmental quality, reclaiming colliery sites, enhancing habitat creation and improving and creating community access. This is reflected in the increasing recognition of the importance and value placed upon the natural heritage, both in terms of natural capital and the essential services it provides. There are now new challenges facing natural heritage in the region, especially as the economy is realigned away from heavy industry and a legacy of economic and social problems are addressed, but there also real opportunities to deliver an enhanced environment that is in synergy with communities and business in the North East.
Defra’s vision for LNPs is that they will:
- Demonstrate local leadership, raising awareness about the vital services and benefits which a healthy natural environment brings for people, communities and the local economy
- Develop a shared environmental vision and set of priorities for their area
- Influence local plans and strategies that affect the natural environment
- Bring together a range of local stakeholders who can align efforts and make best use of available resources
- Work at a landscape scale to improve the range of benefits and services we get from a healthy natural environment
- Improve the social and economic benefits received from the enhancement of the natural environment
- Promote an ecosystems approach and an awareness of its relevance to the work of various sectors
- Deliver integrated outcomes with a wide range of benefits.
- Plan and deliver integrated environmental action
- Make links between the economy and the natural environment