Making Space for Nature – The Lawton Report (2010) (England)


Making Space for Nature – The Lawton Report (2010)(England)

An independent review of England’s wildlife sites and the connections between them was published in September 2010, with recommendations to help achieve a healthy natural environment that will allow our plants and animals to thrive.

Led by Professor Sir John Lawton, the review was set up to look at our wildlife sites and whether they are capable of responding and adapting to the growing challenges of climate change and other demands on our land.

Making Space for Nature: a review of England’s wildlife sites and ecological networks’ concluded that the current system of wildlife sites “does not comprise a coherent and resilient ecological network”. Professor Lawton recommended:

“…a step-change in our approach to wildlife conservation, from trying to hang onto what we have, to one of large-scale habitat restoration and recreation, under-pinned by the re-establishment of ecological processes and ecosystem services, for the benefits of both people and wildlife.”

The report contains 24 recommendations for action that will benefit wildlife and people. The report makes the following key points:

  • That we improve protection and management of our designated wildlife sites
  • That we establish new Ecological Restoration Zones
  • That we better protect our non-designated wildlife sites
  • That society’s need to maintain water-quality, manage inland flooding, deal with coastal erosion and enhance carbon storage, if thought about creatively, could help deliver a more effective ecological network

The Government response to the Lawton report can be seen here. It was published alongside the white paper referred to here. The Ecological Restoration Zones recommended above are now known as Nature Improvement Areas.

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