Natural England begins second phase of uplands review

19 Jul 2012 01:07 PM

Natural England has invited further contributions to the second stage of a wide-ranging evidence review into land management, biodiversity and ecosystem services in the uplands. Views and contributions are welcome from upland land managers, land owners, industry, academic, scientific and third sector groups.

The independent review of upland evidence is being carried out in two parts and was launched last month with a request for contributions around three initial topic areas. The first phase will draw to a close on 20 July and the independent experts will begin to carefully consider the evidence in relation to each of the questions set out in the scoping document: (341kb).

Natural England is now inviting submissions of evidence for the second phase of the study which will cover:

  • Determining environmentally sustainable stocking regimes on moorland
  • Assessing the feasibility of restoring degraded blanket bog

The deadline for submissions is 14 September 2012.

Professor Colin Galbraith is chairing the review and is supported by a group of independent experts from a range of backgrounds who have a wealth of knowledge and experience of the uplands. Professor Galbraith said: “We’re very grateful to all the organisations and individuals who have provided information so far and I hope that everyone with an interest in the issues being covered will contribute to this second phase. This is an excellent way of ensuring that Natural England can make use of the best available evidence.”

The outcomes of the evidence review will be invaluable in developing Natural England’s advice to upland land owners and managers. Once the evidence review has reported, practitioners with knowledge and experience in this area will be invited to work with Natural England to develop the organisation’s delivery of uplands advice, which will take into account social and economic factors as well as practical aspects of management on the ground.

Dr Tim Hill, Natural England’s Director for Evidence & Analysis and Chief Scientist added: “Everyone involved in the management of England’s uplands needs to be confident that decisions are based on objective and consistent evidence. This review is the first one of its type that Natural England has carried out and we want to ensure that we do not miss any evidence from current research or key references. We intend to undertake further reviews in the future around other topics to ensure that we are using the best available evidence when developing our advice”.

How to submit evidence to the Review Panel

Natural England is keen to ensure that the full range of evidence around these topics is identified. In addition to carrying out extensive literature searches and reviews of journals and scientific papers, we are inviting external submissions of evidence. Many upland stakeholders have already been invited to submit evidence and full details on how to contribute can be found on the Natural England website or email neuplandsevidencereview@naturalengland.org.uk for more information.

Biographies of the review panel members

For further information, please contact:
Natural England Press Office on 0300 060 2058 or 07824334819
Duty Press Officer on 07970 098005
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For more information about Natural England, please visit: www.naturalengland.org.uk

Additional notes

The Upland Evidence Review is focusing on five topics and the evidence gathering process is divided into two phases.

The first phase took place between 18 June and 20 July and focused on:

  • Impacts of tracks and vehicle use on soil structure and hydrology and their impacts on biodiversity;
  • Impacts of managed burning on peatland biodiversity and ecosystem services;
  • Appropriate management regimes for sustaining biodiversity in upland hay meadows.

The second phase will take place between now and 14 September and will focus on:

  • Determination of environmentally sustainable stocking regimes on moorland;
  • Feasibility of restoring degraded blanket bog including areas such as drainage, vegetation cover (peat forming species), and climate change.

Alongside the Evidence Review, a wider Natural England Uplands Delivery Review Programme is also involved in three other major strands of work focusing on:

  • Defining a set of principles (a Natural England Uplands Strategic Standard) that will guide all of our work in the uplands;
  • Identifying and communicating the shared outcomes we want to achieve with our customers and partners in the uplands;
  • Ensuring our staff have the appropriate skills, knowledge and tools.

About Natural England

Natural England is the government’s advisor on the natural environment. Established in 2006 our work is focused on enhancing England’s wildlife and landscapes and maximising the benefits they bring to the public.

  • We establish and care for England’s main wildlife and geological sites, ensuring that over 4,000 National Nature Reserves and Sites of Special Scientific Interest are looked after and improved.
  • We work to ensure that England’s landscapes are effectively protected, designating England’s National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and advising on their conservation.
  • We run England’s Environmental Stewardship green farming schemes that deliver over £400 million a year to farmers and landowners, enabling them to enhance the natural environment across two thirds of England’s farmland.
  • We fund, manage, and provide scientific expertise for hundreds of conservation projects each year, improving the prospects for thousands of England’s species and habitats.
  • We promote access to the wider countryside, helping establish National Trails and coastal trails and ensuring that the public can enjoy and benefit from them.