Heart of the Community
We will create a Living Landscape at the heart of local communities.
Over the next five years we will continue to think big - we must work at a landscape scale to secure a better future for wildlife.
We will enhance our nature reserves to make them even better for wildlife and people.
We will work with others, including landowners and developers, to protect wildlife beyond our nature reserves.
Our work will be evidence-led and based on sound research and monitoring.
Nature turns a corner
The number of legally protected sites in our three counties has increased over the last five years, with the creation of the Upper Nene Valley Gravel Pits Special Protection Area (SPA) amongst other gains. In 2012 the Nene Valley was chosen as one the Government's 12 three-year Nature Improvement Area pilots.
We have three staff dedicated to surveying and supporting the network of 1,500, mostly privately owned, Wildlife Sites that form the backbone of nature conservation in our area. They are the most important spaces for wildlife outside of legally protected sites such as Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and National Nature reserves (NNR).
Wildlife sites come in a range of shapes and sizes and include wildflower meadows, ancient woodlands, wetlands, churchyards, old quarries and roadside verges. A wealth of wildlife depends on these sites, including many rare plants, insects and mammals. These species and habitats flourish because of past and current management.
Between 2010 and 2014 the percentage of sites in positive conservation management has increased.
We are working with the developers of a new retail complex at Rushden Lakes in Northamptonshire. At the centre of a globally important area for overwintering birds, the shopping centre is expected to attract around three million visitors a year and has been designed to be sympathetic to this important wildlife area.
A large part of the development site has been set aside as a major new nature reserve that will be managed by the Wildlife trust amd will link together four of our existing reserves at Irthlingborough, Ditchford Meadows, Higham Ferrers and Wilson's Pits, These precious fragments will then form one large area for nature totalling 667 acres (270 hectares) and bring benefits to people and wildlife along this senstive part of the Nene Valley.
We are also in negotiations to run our first visitor centre within the retail development at Rushden Lakes, which we hope will become a gateway for people to access and enjoy the wonderful wildlife of the Nene Valley.