In response to the 2011 Natural Environment White Paper for England, an array of Local Nature Partnerships (LNPs) have been established throughout England. They are co-ordinated by a range of organisations including local authorities and Wildlife Trusts. The LNPs work at a strategic level to improve the range of benefits we get from the environment. When LNPs were established, it was suggested that they should influence local decisions and promote the ecosystem approach. A map and contacts for the LNP's can be found on the HM Government's LNP webpage.
Many Local Nature Partnerships are showing the benefits of managing the environment as an asset. They are involving different groups, such as healthcare organisations, that would not traditionally think they have a direct interest in the environment. The Ecosystems Knowledge Network is following the work of the Local Nature Partnerships in order to help share what they are doing and achieving.
The following are examples of the kinds of activity that LNPs are undertaking:
Full profile of Birmingham and Black Country LNP
The Birmingham and Black Country LNP works as an umbrella organisation, coordinating a multitude of different activities. It is a useful example of how an LNP can respond to its strategic aim. See the case study profile.
Linking health and environment
- Kent Nature Partnership have an active Health and Wellbeing group and have recently reviewed the health benefits of green space in Kent. See the Non-Technical Executive Summary for more information, access to more in depth reports via the webpage, or go to the Kent LNP website to learn more about what they do.
- Northamptonshire Local Nature Partnership has published an assessment of the links between health and the local environment. See Natural Environmental Solutions for a Healthier Northamptonshire.
Communicating the value of the environment
- The West of England Nature Partnership has commissioned a set of Ecosystem Service Maps using the SENCE tool. These show a selection of environment assets across the region and the services they provide. The maps are likely to be used as a key piece of environmental evidence for a regional strategic planning document. For more on the West of England LNP go to their website.
- Tees Valley Nature Partnership have similarly produced Natural Networks Opportunity Maps with a view to informing future planning and development decisions. Follow this link to the Tees Valley LNP website.
- The North East Local Nature Partnership have produced a leaflet that communicates what their LNP does in an accessible way. To see the leaflet follow the link.
Shropshire are communicating the value of their environment through their Marches Ecosystem Assessment. They also have designed summaries for the business sector and health sector to further communicate ideas.
Making the case for investment in the environment
- Dorset published a detailed Natural Capital Investment Strategy in March 2016. It is helping them encourage their Local Enterprise Partnership to take a 'natural capital approach' to project funding and delivery and network with a number of groups including a Sustainable Business Leaders Group. For more on the Dorset LNP see the website.
- A Natural Capital Investment Strategy has also been created by Surrey LNP. This is underpinning an Investment Plan which is currently under development and being supported through sharing knowledge and expertise with other LNPs, particularly Wild Anglia LNP and the West of England LNP, to find out more contact Sarah Jane Chimbwandira sarahjane[at]surreywt.org.uk. For information on the other work that Surrey is doing, see their website.
Engaging the public and local organisations
- Humber Nature Partnership have recently developed a smartphone app that aims to encourage local people to understand the natural environment. They also maintain close relationships with industry around the estuary. Go to their website to find out more.
- Wild Anglia, East Anglia's LNP has engaged the public by creating debates and discussions that get people to think about their dependence on the environment information on upcoming speakers and dates can be found on the webpage.
- Nature Connected the LNP for the Liverpool city region have partnered with: Atlantic Gateway; various councils, the NHS clinical commissioning group, Riverside EMANSYS, two Local Enterprise Partnerships, Liverpool Vision, Liverpool Chamber of Commerce, University of Liverpool, ARUP and a multitude of environmental organisations.
Local Nature Partnerships and the ecosystem approach
HM Government Natural Environment White Paper (2011) from which the LNPs were established suggested that LNPs would promote the ecosystem approach.
The establishment of LNPs encourages local leadership and local understanding of the benefits of the natural environment, this relates to Principle 2 of the ecosystem approach which suggests that locally made decisions are better.
Some of the LNPs have been designed with strategic as well as administrative boundaries in mind, linking to Principle 7 of the ecosystem approach which suggests working at the right scale is important. Examples include the Northern Upland Chain LNP, Birmingham and Black Country LNP and the South Pennines LNP.
LNPs are able to help contribute to the green economy particularly by emphasising the value of nature and collaborating with LEPs. This links to principle 4 of the ecosystem approach. LNPs that have developed strong relationships with the LEPs include: Birmingham and Black Country LNP, the West of England Nature Partnership, Dorset LNP, Cornwall and IOS LNP, Nature Connected, Wild Anglia, Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin LNP. For Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin, completion of the first stage of their LEED Toolkit provided them with the opportunity to engage with their local Local Enterprise Partnership.