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Natural England action for people and nature ahead of COP28

Natural England will support the delivery of measures to accelerate nature recovery, and improve access to the natural world

  • Natural England will support the delivery of wide-ranging measures to accelerate nature recovery, create sustainable developments and improve access to the natural world  
  • New chapter for Protected Landscapes with work led by Natural England to identify an area to be considered for designation as England’s newest National Park  
  • 34 landscape recovery projects announced and next steps for Biodiversity Net Gain confirmed as part of boost for nature before COP28  

Action to create England’s newest National Park – the first in a decade – has begun as Natural England begins the process to identify a suitable landscape.  

This comes as the government announces measures to improve access to green spaces, new Landscape Recovery projects to produce food sustainably while recovering nature, and action to create Protected Landscapes which are fit for future generations.  

As part of the package announced today (29 November), the government has released the response to the Landscapes Review confirming intention to create a Protected Landscapes partnership which will drive forward nature recovery and leadership on tackling climate change. Natural England will be part of this collaboration, building on efforts to create resilient landscapes for people and nature.  

 Natural England will consider the natural beauty of the landscape, opportunities for quiet enjoyment and environmental and community needs, to identify the area where a new National Park will help nature recover, while offering opportunities for people to access green space.  

The new National Park will provide more space for the public to enjoy the benefits that nature brings, as well as wildlife-rich habitats for our nationally important species to aid nature recovery.  

England is home to 10 existing National Parks and 34 existing National Landscapes that collectively cover nearly 25% of England. It’s anticipated that the 11th National Park will focus on accelerating the protection of nature, alongside providing public access for people who currently do not have good access to nature and green space.   

Our Protected Landscapes are home to some of our most iconic and beautiful places. These remarkable landscapes support our nation’s health and wellbeing and are crucial to delivering our commitments to tackle climate change and restore nature, including the target to protect 30% of land for nature by 2030.  

Tony Juniper, Chair of Natural England, said:  

“Having more well connected and wildlife-rich habitats is a central priority for meeting our Nature recovery ambitions. This includes enhancing landscapes, helping more species thrive, improving climate adaptation and wellbeing for people.  

“As we look ahead to COP28 it is timely to set out practical actions that reflect the deep connections between Nature and climate change. The wide-ranging measures announced today mark a positive step forward and we look forward to supporting the government in delivering them”.   

New funding has also been confirmed for the second round of the Landscape Recovery schemes, which help farmers to manage their land sustainably.   

34 new landscape recovery projects have been announced that will support the management of over 200,000 hectares of land for nature and sustainable food production, with around £25 million of project development funding available through the second round of the Landscape Recovery scheme. Natural England and the Environment Agency are the lead delivery partners for the scheme and will provide support and guidance to those selected through a project liaison officer.   

The projects will see 20,000 hectares of woodland managed more sustainably and will benefit the conservation of over 160 protected sites, including SSSIs and areas within National Parks such as Exmoor, Dartmoor, the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District.  

The government will also lay two new statutory instruments and issue new guidance for developers and landowners, marking the next step in the requirement for new developments to be ‘nature positive’ by delivering at least a 10% net gain for nature. Natural England will support the implementation of Biodiversity Net Gain, offering a new route for developments to accelerate nature recovery and provide enhanced green spaces for our communities   

The package of measures announced today represents progress towards the government’s commitment to deliver on the targets set out in the Environmental Improvement Plan to halt the decline in our wildlife populations and increase species abundance by 2030.   

Notes to editors:   

  • Natural England is the body responsible for designating National Parks and National Landscapes.  
  • The proposals for the next landscape designations will be considered by Natural England’s board in the summer of 2024.  
  • Designations only come into effect once confirmed by the Environment Secretary 
  • Work is already underway to expand existing National Landscapes through Natural England’s 2021 National Landscape programme, which includes the consideration of two new National Landscapes (previously known as AONBs), in the Yorkshire Wolds and Cheshire Sandstone Ridge, and extensions to the Surrey Hills and Chilterns National Landscapes.   
  • To learn more about the government package for nature announced today, visit: Government pledges to boost Britain’s access to nature ahead of COP28 - GOV.UK (
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