Largest ever nationwide initiative to restore nature in England launched

In the first of its kind, an England-wide initiative to be launched today (Thursday, November 5) will recover nature across the length and breadth of the country, and help everybody access and enjoy it.

The Nature Recovery Network (NRN) Delivery Partnership, led by Natural England, will bring together representatives from over 600 organisations to drive forward the restoration of protected sites and landscapes and help provide at least 500,000ha of new wildlife-rich habitat across England.

The network will link together the very best nature-rich places, restore landscapes in towns and the countryside and create new habitats for everybody to enjoy.

It is the biggest initiative to restore nature ever to be launched in England.

As well as making sure existing protected sites are in the best possible condition, the Nature Recovery Network programme aims to recover threatened animal and plant species and create and connect new green and blue spaces such as wetlands, ponds, meadows, woodlands and peatlands.

Programme aims

The programme also aims to engage conservation rangers and environmentally focused, community-based projects and put lost features like hedgerows and trees back into our landscapes.

These restored habitats aim to help address climate change through capturing carbon, while improving the quality of air, water, and soil, and provide natural flood protection.

They will also provide us all with places to enjoy and connect with nature and help to improve our health and wellbeing.

The NRN aims to:
  • Restore 75% of protected sites to favourable condition so nature can thrive;
  • Create or restore at least 500,000 additional hectares of wildlife-rich habitat outside of protected sites;
  • Recover our threatened and iconic animal and plant species by providing more habitat and wildlife corridors to help species move in response to climate change;
  • Support the planting of 180,000ha of woodland;
  • Deliver a range of wider benefits, including carbon capture, flood management, clean water, pollination and recreation;
  • Bring nature much closer to people, where they live, work, and play, boosting health and wellbeing.

The ambitious plans were launched in a virtual conference, where Chair Tony Juniper and CEO Marian Spain called for even more organisations, businesses and charities to pledge to take action to help deliver the NRN.

Launching the NRN initiative, Natural England chair Tony Juniper said:

We are firing the starting gun on England’s NRN, backed by the biggest-ever collaboration between government, businesses and charities to drive forward the biggest programme for nature recovery in England’s history.

“The natural world upon which we all depend has for far too long been in decline, and now is the moment when we must change our approach, to move beyond preserving what little remains and to embark on restoration at scale.”