Nature Recovery

Protected landscapes face the biggest change in half a century with the implementation of the Agriculture Act 2020, delivery of the Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan and by responding to the recommendations from the Defra Landscapes Review. There is huge opportunity to restore wildlife to improve, expand, buffer, and connect our core nature sites. National Parks and AONBs should be at the forefront of this recovery.

There are lots of fantastic examples of agri-environment schemes, landscape restoration, and catchment initiatives, which positively contribute towards looking after our special places. These need to become more widespread if we are to protect and restore precious habitats and biodiversity, to help us adapt to climate change and deliver a range of benefits for people and wildlife.

In our conference webinar we will look at some of these examples.

Online event

12th July 2021 - 12:00 pm to 1:30 pm

Nature Recovery, perspectives from a national to a local scale

A series of presentation explore how we might establish and work together in partnership at a national and local scale to develop nature recovery strategies.

Event Chair

Professor Lois Mansfield

Professor of Upland Landscapes, and Director of Ambleside Campus
University of Cumbria

Director of Ambleside campus responsible for student experience, business development and stakeholder engagement. Lois continues to teach on the BSc Geography programme in the areas of rural resource management and rural economy. She recently became a receipient of a Winston Churchill Fellowship (2019) related to place-based rural development using cultural capital in Japan. She is also research active in the area of upland agriculture a as part of the Centre for national Parks & Protected Areas.

Event Panel

Craig Bennett

The Wildlife Trusts

Craig Bennett is Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of The Wildlife Trusts, and was previously CEO of Friends of the Earth. He is an Honorary Professor of Sustainability and Innovation at Alliance Manchester Business School, University of Manchester. Craig started as CEO of Friends of the Earth in 2015, following five years as Director of Policy and Campaigns. Under Craig's leadership, Friends of the Earth has led the fight against fracking and for the reversal of bee population decline, and campaigned for clean air. As CEO he is shaping Friends of the Earth up as an organisation fit to fight the environmental challenges of the new century, with a focus on grass-roots campaigning. Prior to this, Craig was Deputy Director at the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership, and Director of the Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change (from 2007 to 2010), where he built the group into one of the most influential and progressive business voices in the international climate debate. He maintains his links with the University of Cambridge, as Policy Fellow at CSaP, and as a Senior Associate at the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL). He has twenty years' experience of designing and contributing to executive eduction programmes at numerous universities and business schools, including the Cambridge Judge Business School, London Business School, and Duke CE. In 2016, following his well-received Grigor Mcclelland Annual Lecture, he was appointed Honorary Professor in Sustainability and Innovation at Alliance Manchester Business School. Craig is Chair of the Sustainability and Resilience customer challenge panel for the Anglian Water region (established as part of the OFWAT price review process) and was formerly a member of the Net Positive Board Advisory Panel for Kingfisher plc. From 2013-2015, he was Chair of the Board of Stakeholder Forum. He has a BSc (Hons) in Human and Physical Geography from The University of Reading and an MSc in Biodiversity Conservation from University College London. He is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (FRGS) and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA). Craig regularly appears in the broadcast media, and has had many articles printed in national newspapers such as The Guardian, The Independent and Huffington Post. He is a regular columnist and a member of the advisory board for the website BusinessGreen.

Aidan Lonergan

Area Manager (West Anglia)
Natural England Nature Recovery Network

Aidan Lonergan, currently provides strategic leadership to NE’s Nature Recovery Network (NRN) programme. Working across the breadth of DEFRA and NE work to ensure that a wide range of contributory policy hooks and funding mechanisms are successfully integrated to create the conditions for NRN delivery. The NRN programme is already actively working with a wide range of organisations within our NRN partnership group to capitalise on these emerging policy and funding mechanisms to deliver the NRN locally. He has previously worked as an NE Area Manager overseeing joined up work delivery across five counties in the East of England. Before working for NE he worked for the RSPB for over 15 years in a variety of roles including leading their European Country Programmes (working extensively in Romania, Bulgaria and Belarus), their Director in Northern Ireland and developing their Landscape scale conservation programme. Originally from Tipperary in Ireland but has lived and worked in the UK since 1996. He is a graduate from the University of Limerick with masters from both DIT Dublin and Brunel University in London.

Clive Mitchell

Outcome Manager
People and Nature

In NatureScot, I’m an Outcome Manager – Nature and Climate Change, allocating resources for our priorities under protected areas, urban settings, marine ecosystems and species management. I also lead our work on climate change and the role of nature in the transition to net zero. Previously I have occupied a number of roles in NatureScot from area officer in Orkney to corporate strategy. In 2007, I was seconded to the UK Sustainable Development Commission as team leader for climate change, energy, transport and buildings. In addition, I work for the Open University as an Associate Lecturer on courses in environmental and Earth system processes, including the evolution of climate-nature as a coupled system over the last 4 billion years or so.

Rachel Whaley

Planning Officer
Cumbria County Council

Working in the Development Control and Sustainability Team at Cumbria County Council (CCC). My role involves monitoring and review of the Minerals and Waste Local Plan but also as a policy planner I sit on the officer steering groups for the three AONB partnerships within Cumbria. Seconded to the role of Project Manager for the Cumbria LNRS Pilot with CCC acting as Responsible Authority. Bringing together key partners and stakeholders to form the Pilot Area Team and working groups. Coordinating the work program and managing communications and engagement with wider stakeholder group. I will be speaking/leading discussion on the collaborative working element of the LNRS Pilot from a ‘lessons learned’ perspective , including considerations for setting up an initial Pilot Area Team/steering group; managing expectations through communications and engagement; the importance of identifying end-users to test the practical elements of an LNRS.

Dr Kath Milnes

Senior Advisor, Local Nature Recovery Strategies
Natural England, Cumbria Area Team

I have worked for English Nature, then Natural England, as a conservation and land management adviser in Cumbria for more than 20 years. I advise on protection, management and monitoring of Sites of Special Scientific Interest, and have particular expertise in upland and grassland habitats. I am also interested in how we can achieve landscape-scale delivery of nature recovery, and am currently working as part of Natural England’s Local Nature Recovery Strategy team. In this role I am supporting Cumbria County Council in delivering the LNRS pilot in Cumbria. I will be talking about the purpose of Local Nature Recovery Strategies, how we have worked together in Cumbria to produce a pilot strategy and some of the lessons learned from the process.

Paul Evans

Cumbria Local Nature Partnership (CLNP)

The Cumbria Local Nature Partnership is a partnership of conservation organisations, land management bodies, statutory agencies, local authorities and other stakeholders which work together to identify, support and deliver strategic nature priorities in Cumbia – in particular Nature Recovery. I manage the partnership – working with a range of organisations and groups to promote and facilitate action for nature. The CLNP have support the County Council and wider LNRS partnership in the development of the LNRS. Providing expert advice from across the Local Nature Partnership with regards to spatial planning, and habitat and species priorities.

Nature Recovery resources

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Hay Time Project Article

Summary: Article regarding the Hay Time Project, meadow restoration carried out in Forest of Bowland AONB. Credit: Forest of Bowland AONB


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