DEFRA Announces Local Nature Partnership for South Yorkshire
July 20, 2012
South Yorkshire is home to a new important initiative to champion the benefits of a healthy and high quality natural environment. The South Yorkshire Local Nature Partnership will help coordinate work to enhance places, creating attractive settings for investment and helping to deliver regeneration.
South Yorkshire’s Local Nature Partnership is a network of over 50 organisations, to be led by a Board of eminent experts and key decision makers. It draws together action by key players across the private, public and not for profit sectors. Following extensive consultation, and submission of a proposal in May 2012, the Government’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has now formally recognised the new South Yorkshire Local Nature Partnership.
Tom Wild, Director of South Yorkshire Forest, which is the secretariat to the Board, said: “We are absolutely delighted by this news. For the first time, we can really unite around a common vision not just to improve the natural environment but also to ensure that this helps deliver more and better jobs and growth. Our Local Nature Partnership will do this by involving more people in decisions, and by joining up our actions and projects to deliver better value for money for local communities.
“South Yorkshire has some of the most beautiful, diverse and productive landscapes, but also some important environmental problems remain. We have the people, passion and persistence to deliver a change for the better. On behalf of the team responsible for leading this vital new initiative, I’d like to give our thanks to all those who continue to support this important work”.
The South Yorkshire Local Nature Partnership has the mission to bring people together to ‘champion the value of the natural environment and embed its social and economic benefits into decision-making’. By doing so it intends to protect and enhance South Yorkshire’s natural environment, promoting the coordinated delivery of connected ‘landscape-scale’ projects as part of a high-quality green network. The partners are clear that this work must help to create sustainable jobs and growth, and contribute to improved social cohesion.
Liz Ballard, a shadow board member and Chief Executive at The Wildlife Trust for Sheffield and Rotherham, said “This Government endorsement will help us work better together to stand up for nature in South Yorkshire. It will help us to influence decision-makers about the value of wildlife, green spaces and the natural environment. I also believe it is recognition of the great work our organisations already do on the ground, with fantastic support from local people. I look forward to representing the Wildlife Trusts on the South Yorkshire Local Nature Partnership shadow board.”
Richard Benyon, Parliamentary Undersecretary for the Natural Environment, announced the first 41 Local Nature Partnerships, of which the South Yorkshire network is one, on Tuesday saying: “The vision, energy and commitment displayed in these applications was wonderful. Really diverse partners, many coming together for the first time, to work across geographic boundaries and administrative borders, and finding innovative ways of pooling and sharing limited local resources. And all this driven by the ambition to not only safeguard nature, but to recognise its importance to economic growth and the wellbeing of communities.”
The key difference about this innovative initiative is that it is firmly focused on achieving a critical mass of timely action at the right scale. By doing so the Local Nature Partnership can help deliver lasting changes in the quality of the environment, and of people’s perceptions of South Yorkshire as a great place to live, visit and do business.
Tom Wild said “This is all about the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. By working together with local people and across businesses, governments and charities, we can achieve so much more. For too long the environment movement has lacked a unifying voice, or has not got its message across clearly and loudly in wider debates about development and future change. We’ve been overwhelmed by the support of our partners, and warmly welcome new partners to get involved!”
The Local Nature Partnership has been brought together by a working group comprising South Yorkshire Forest Partnership, South Yorkshire Geodiversity Partnership, South Yorkshire Biodiversity Forum, Campaign to Protect Rural England (South Yorkshire), The Wildlife Trusts, Local Authorities and Government conservation agencies all working together for the first time across South Yorkshire.
Sarah Poulter at South Yorkshire Forest Partnership on 0114 2571 199 or firstname.lastname@example.org