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4:33 PM 2nd June 2020

Environmental Organisations in the North of England welcome IPPR North’s recommendation for a ‘Plan for Nature in the North’

A consortium of leading environmental organisations in the North of England have welcomed the call from the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) North for nature to be put at the heart of plans for economic recovery in the North.

The recommendations from the new report just published call for a ‘Plan for Nature in the North’, and details how investment from government in the restoration of nature can be a stimulus for future prosperity – a proposal wholeheartedly welcomed by the group, currently known as Nature North.

Gannet at Bempton cliffs. Photo by Elliott Day
Gannet at Bempton cliffs. Photo by Elliott Day
Nature North brings together leading environmental organisations working in the North of England, to deliver nature recovery at a strategic scale. The group is working closely with the 11 northern Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs), through the group known as the NP11, who are keen to see greener growth and recovery from COVID–19 in the area.

Through the work of the Northern Powerhouse, the importance of natural heritage in creating a sense of pride in people’s hometowns, cities and counties, and the positive impact it can have on local economies is being further recognised, and Nature North is dedicated to working together to amplify this message.

Home to world renowned natural landscapes; from the rugged coastlines of Northumberland, to the picturesque surroundings of the Pennines, to the sprawling Yorkshire Dales, the natural environment of the North is hugely diverse and distinctive. As a result, the new report from IPPR North proposes that a regional approach to investment is urgently needed. In turn, the report states that investment in projects to restore the nature of the North will reap substantial social, environmental, and economic benefits for the area.

View from Kip Law over Alston Moor. Image by Gwen Backhouse
View from Kip Law over Alston Moor. Image by Gwen Backhouse
With Nature North bringing together wide ranging expertise, the group will work collaboratively over the coming months to develop some priority proposals for nature recovery in the area, in line with the recommendations of the report.

Abi Bunker, Director of Conservation and External Affairs at the Woodland Trust, said:

It was vital the environment is placed firmly on the Northern Powerhouse agenda. The Trust and four community forests are spearheading the Northern Forest as well as a range of other native woodland and habitat creation initiatives across the region.

She said: "We welcome this report, which rightly draws attention to the interplay between the health and wealth of Northern England and that of its natural assets. Woodland cover in this region is well below the national average, despite the substantial and growing evidence of the very real environmental, social and economic benefits that woods and trees can bring to individuals, to communities and to the local economy. The Northern Forest is a bold, collaborative and bottom-up initiative to transform the situation, to plant at least 50 million trees and deliver nature-based solutions to a range of problems, from wildlife declines and flooding to poor air and water quality. This transformational change requires ambition, innovation and collaboration from the North's political and business leaders to leave the legacy of a region rich in woods and trees for the benefit and enjoyment of generations to come."

Liz Newton, Natural England’s Operations Director (north), said:

“The importance of natural heritage in creating a sense of pride in people’s hometowns and counties, and the positive impact it can have on local economies is being recognised, and Nature North is dedicated to working together to amplify this message.

“Building partnerships for nature’s recovery is very much the theme of Natural England 2020-21 Action Plan. Nature North group brings together wide-ranging expertise and will work over the summer to develop some priority proposals for nature recovery in the region.”