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LNP Local Nature Update
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So much has happened in the last couple of months that it’s hard to know where to start. Between the Budget, Net Zero Strategy and the Environment Bill, this was bound to be a busy month for those of us fighting for nature. Add in COP26 and we’re facing a deluge of news and commentary. With nature likely to stay high up the agenda in 2022, we’ve revamped this newsletter as a digest.

Our interwoven environmental crises are at least getting attention, with a big emphasis on nature at COP26. But attention isn’t action – and we mustn’t let the flood of pledges be grounds for complacency. It can be easy to miss the forest for the trees, especially when they’re being felled or on fire. The real bottom line is that all this talk is occurring as a global pandemic crashes into a climate crisis – both symptoms of our fractured relationship with nature and decades of hot air.

Coming months will see the lesser-known COP15 thrash out new plans to tackle biodiversity loss – after the world failed to meet a single goal pledged a decade ago. It is hard not to look on with cynicism; for as meetings and pledges might continue to rise, the state of nature continues to plummet.

But I remain stubbornly hopeful. It’s finally been recognised in Glasgow that when it comes to the climate and nature crises, we can solve both or solve neither. Closer to home I’m buoyed at just how many of you helped to shape Cornwall’s draft nature recovery strategy – and roused by the certainty that together we’re a strong local coalition for nature. Our main task now is to enable action, and to persuade others of the necessity and opportunities of making Cornwall and Scilly nature positive, as well as carbon neutral.

 
Lord Robin Teverson
Chair, Cornwall & Isles of Scilly LNP
Contents
 
Cornwall & Isles of Scilly Local Nature Partnership has declared an ecological emergency.

Breeding seabird pairs in Scilly have declined by a third over the last 40 years.

100,000 hectares of land has now been restored, protected and enhanced in the South West by the Upstream Thinking programme for improving river water quality.

The Environment Agency has purchased a thermal imaging camera for use in fisheries enforcement patrols across Devon and Cornwall.

Beavers in Cornwall are helping with flood defences and strengthening biodiversity.

Residents in Cornwall are being asked to have their say on whether Cornwall’s lost or threatened wildlife should be reintroduced.

Work is underway to create a pollinator-friendly garden at the site of a medieval church in Penryn.

The number of recorded seal disturbances in Cornwall alone has doubled since last year, with part of the reason a rise in “silent” water sports.

Reports of wildlife crime in the UK surged in 2020 for many species between 35-90% - with marine mammal incident reports in Cornwall alone rising 90% - whilst convictions fell by over half.

The Environment Agency has issued the first ever licences to abstract water on the Isles of Scilly.

The Army has been using diggers to remove scrub from overgrown dunes at Penhale to help boost local wildlife.

A calculator to help assess whether developments are phosphate-neutral has been launched by Cornwall Council, following a pause in planning approvals in the River Camel area.

The Forestry Commission has called for vigilance following the identification of a tree pathogen in South East Cornwall.
The Environment Act is now law, following strengthening placing a legal duty on water companies to progressively reduce adverse impacts of sewage discharges.

Government’s Net Zero Strategy embeds a range of commitments for nature, including boosting the Nature for Climate Fund by £124m.

The Comprehensive Spending Review includes the Nature for Climate fund uplift as well as £250m for species, habitats and Environment Bill, but is short according to nature organisations.

Government has announced that it will strengthen wording on ancient woodland in the National Planning Policy Framework, as part of its review.

The UK is one of the most nature-depleted countries in the world – in the bottom 10% - having just 53% of its native wildlife intact, well below the global average of 75%.

The status of threatened habitats, priority and threatened species are all still in decline and pressures still growing according to the latest England Biodiversity indicators – as government announced it will pause reporting in 2022.

Nature-based economic recovery could hugely benefit rural and coastal economies, with farmers, fishes and foresters benefiting from coordinated green investment for nature-based innovation.

A new report shows how better appraisal of the socioeconomic impacts of nature projects can significantly help attract capital and deliver levelling up, as the LGA finds nearly 700,000 new green jobs could be created by 2030.

A minimum of £44 - £97 billion of investment is needed to deliver the UK’s nature-related ambitions over the next 10 years.

Uncertainty about the new farming regime risks less sustainable methods and business viability, according to a new Commons Committee report. It echoes similar criticisms of the rollout from the National Audit Office last month.

5,517 sewage discharge notifications were issued by water companies over the last 12 months, and only 14% of UK rivers have ‘good’ ecological status according to a new report.

83% of Britons are concerned about climate change, with the impact of the climate crisis on wildlife their largest concern according to a national survey – whilst another on preferred climate solutions found that almost 80% supported more sustainable farming and increasing and conserving nature.

Over 80% of young people eager to take action to help the environment, according to the latest Children’s People and Nature Survey.

A new experimental statistic and dashboard have been released showing a declining trend in the global ecological footprint of UK consumption – as an investigation unveils the links between UK food consumption and deforestation in Brazil.

Banks and asset managers based in the EU, UK, US and China have made deals worth $157 billion with firms accused of destroying tropical forest.

A group of 95 UK companies have pledged to work towards reversing the decline of nature by 2030 and getting ‘Nature Positive’.

Government has made a statement on its intention to create a Soil Health Action Plan.

As much as 1/5 of emissions cuts will need to come from the ocean, with ‘blue carbon’ habitats able to absorb 1.4bn tons of emissions a year by 2050.

A cross-party group of Blue Carbon Champions has been launched in Parliament to call for a blue carbon strategy, whilst Government has announced it intends to establish a UK Blue Carbon Evidence Partnership.

One restored coastal saltmarsh in the UK stores as much carbon over four years as just over one million new trees grown for ten years.

Four Pacific nations have committed to joining up their marine reserves into a ‘mega-MPA’ – a fishing-free corridor of over 200,000 sq miles.

Persecution of birds of prey is at the highest level in 30 years, according to the RSPB.

The National Bee Unit has published details of how it will implement the Healthy Bees Plan 2030.

Nature charities have said that temporary reversal of a ban on an extremely toxic neonicotinoid pesticide would be a ‘disaster for nature’, as new research shows it may take multiple generations to recover from being exposed to insecticides even just once.

The Wildlife Trusts have called for access to nature to be set in law, and for planning reform to ensure more space for nature.

The National Trust has announced plans to invest almost half a billion in conservation projects over three years.

The Environment Agency has launched a project to standardise metrics for environmental performance of food and drink sector.

The UK’s reliance on cheap tree imports is putting the nation’s woods and trees at serious risk, warns the Woodland Trust, as new stats reveal a near doubling in the value of imports since 2016.

Departments and partner organisations should develop and deliver Nature Recovery Plans, according to Government’s 2021-25 Greening Government Commitments.

Over 3,000 hectares of new woodlands are set to be planted along England’s watercourses by a new ‘Woodland Creation Partnership’ – similar to that formed in Cornwall in March.

The average litter recorded on beaches in England rose 4% in 2021 to per 388 items 100 metres.

An Avian Influenza (bird flu) Prevention Zone has been declared across the whole country, requiring bird keepers to follow strict biosecurity measures.

An Asian hornet has been spotted in Berkshire, the first confirmed sighting in the UK this year.

The decline in butterflies and moths is continuing, with the overall number of butterflies recorded per count at its lowest level since the Big Butterfly Count began 12 years ago.
 
The Environment Agency has warned of future water shortages as it estimates that summer rainfall is expected to decrease by approximately 15% by the 2050s, and 22% by the 2080s due to climate change.
 
A new Water Roadmap has been launched to improve quality and availability of water in 20 sourcing areas and work towards the target of sourcing 50% of the UK’s fresh food from areas with sustainable water management.
 
Researchers are calling on UK governments to unleash the power of nature to protect our homes and farmland from floods, droughts and heatwaves.
 
The environmental sector ranks the second-worst for diversity in the UK, with just 3.1 per cent of workers from minority backgrounds.

Government has detailed funding for new projects to tackle the illegal wildlife trade.

Seven NHS ‘green social prescribing’ pilots are delivering a dose of nature to help boost to mental health.
The UK pledged to make nature a priority of COP26, and many countries have included nature-based solutions in their plans - although this has met with concerns about greenwashing and carbon-markets.

Emissions have rebounded to pre-pandemic levels, with the global carbon budget for staying below 1.5C due to be used up in 11 years – with planned fossil fuel production double that needed to meet the target.

COP26 pledges would now stand a 50% chance of limiting global heating to below 2C if fulfilled – following a warning at the start of the conference that the world was on track for 2.7C this century.

The UK’s five statutory nature agencies have launched a new report – Nature Positive 2030 – emphasising the importance of nature for tackling climate change. They are showcasing case studies at COP26, including a local seabed habitat restoration project.

There has been a clear rise in the inclusion of nature within national climate plans, with 105 of 114 assessed including Nature-based Solutions.

133 countries made a legally non-binding pledge to halt and reverse forest loss and land degradation by 2030, one of the biggest drivers of climate change after fossil fuels – although there was scepticism due to a similar 2014 declaration that then saw deforestation rise.

Around $20bn of Funding announced for the forest declaration, including public finance, funding for indigenous & local communities, and the LEAF coalition.

Meanwhile, 9 development banks committed to mainstream nature in their investments, the Natural Capital Investment Alliance pledged to mobilise $10bn for nature, and a roadmap for finance on deforestation was unveiled.

45 countries committed to shift to more sustainable farming, alongside $4bn pledged for agricultural innovation such as regenerative approaches, a Just Rural Transition support programme, and a roadmap for more sustainable commodities trading.

The UK pledged £40m climate finance to establish a Global Centre on Biodiversity for Climate, to address research gaps in how nature can deliver climate solutions.

There is a risk that ‘Nature based Solutions’ is co-opted as a phrase instead of being applied in line with its scientific definition, warns the IUCN, as it announced a committee for its global standard.

The UK launched a draft climate and sustainability strategy for education & children’s services.

A Global Youth Position Statement on Nature-based Solutions was presented by a group of youth nature groups.
 
For a more, check out Carbon Brief’s summary on the COP26 outcomes for nature.
The first part of the COP15 UN Biodiversity Summit got underway, to set the next decade’s roadmap for tackling biodiversity loss – with parties adopting the Kunming Declaration.

The Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures held its first Plenary meeting, initiating work to develop a risk-management and disclosure framework for the finance and business sector to better report on and manage their nature-related risks.

Peatlands store twice as much carbon as the world’s forests, but they are mismanaged as their economic contribution is undervalued according a new report.

At least 10 of the worlds most protected forests are now net emitters of carbon due to the impact of wildfires, deforestation and global heating.
85% of marine litter is plastic, and the volume will triple by 2040 on current trends.

House sparrow populations in Europe have dropped by 247 million since 1980.

Birds and their eggs could be overwhelmed by the impact of climate change, amid similar warnings about airborne species of bacteria.

Over 180 civil society groups have called on world leaders to put human rights at the centre of nature and climate policy.

WWF are after ‘walrus detectives’ to help spot walruses in satellite imagery to help track how they are impacted by climate change.

Conflict is being driven by ecological damage, and climate change is likely to make the situation worse.

Populations of the North Atlantic right whale fell by almost 10% in 2020, leaving only a few hundred left. 

A fifth of birds in Europe are now at threat of extinction, with seabirds, wildfowl, waders, and raptors most at risk.

Over 1,000 universities have pledged to transform their impact on nature, as a new ‘Nature Positive Universities’ initiative aims to shift their supply chains and restore local landscapes.

At least eight variants of avian flu, potentially more severe than Covid-19, are circulating in factory farms globally.

TBCFarm for the Future Programme

29 NovHigh-tech marine natural history: evidence to support conservation

30 NovForest for Cornwall Tree Talk: The Cornish Orchard Revival

Dec/Jan – Cornwall Farmland Birds Project

2 DecForest for Cornwall Tree Talk: Cornwall’s Trees and Woodlands Through Time

2 DecFragile Planet: Taming the Four Horsemen

 

3 DecCornwall Sustainability Awards 2021, with Gillian Burke

7 DecFragile Planet: The ecological and climate crises in Cornwall

8 Dec – Protecting and Restoring the Local Natural Environment and Biodiversity 2021

16 DecFragile Planet: Painting the wilderness

Watch again:

Farming Investment Fund
Natural Environment Investment Readiness Fund (second round)
Angling Improvement Fund (Biosecurity and Invasive Species Management)
Trees Call to Action Fund
Local School Nature Grants Scheme
Farming Innovation Programme Fund
Seafood Innovation Fund
Fisheries Industry Science Partnerships Fund
Explore more on our funding page
Cornwall Council: Species Reintroductions
Cornwall Council: Prosperous Cornwall 2050 Spatial Strategy
Defra: Marine Strategy Measures
Defra: Water abstraction & impounding licensing
Defra: Groundwater & surface water regulations
Defra: Plant Biosecurity Strategy
Defra: Reforming the Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board
Defra: Call for evidence on plastic pollution
Defra: Proposals to ban common single-use plastics
Environment Agency: Draft Flood Risk Management Plans
Environment Agency: Draft River Basin Management Plans
JNCC: Review of Schedules 5 and 8 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act
MCS: Good Fish Guide testing panel
NFU/HTA: Reducing peat use
British Academy: Urban Nature Atlas
British Academy: Ways forward for Nature-based solutions
British Academy: Nature-based solutions and the Green Economy
Carbon Brief: A just transition in agriculture
CaBA: Chalk Streams Strategy
CaBA: Seagrass, Saltmarsh and Intertidal Sediments handbooks
Civil Eats: Farmer mental health & climate change
CLA: Natural Capital Business Directory
CNPPA: Farming with Nature 2021 Event Report
CPRE: Hedge fund: Investing in hedgerows
CWT: Marine & Coastal Wildlife Disturbance in Cornwall 2021
Commons Library: COP26 briefings
Commons Library: Green Belt briefing
Conversation: Rewildling case study
Defra/ONS: England Biodiversity Indicators 2021 (and UK-wide)
Defra: 25 Year Environment Plan 2020/21 Progress Report
Defra: Farming & Environment evidence pack
Defra: Agri-climate report 2021
Defra: Response to CCC on progress on climate adaptation
Defra: Sustainable Farming Incentive Pilots (updated)
Defra: Guidance on wild birds’ habitat duty
Defra: Soil management plan guidance (updated)
Defra: Genetic technologies regulation (consultation response)
Demos: Public views on how to cut emissions
DfE: Sustainability & Climate Change: draft strategy for education and children’s services
EAC: The UK’s global footprint on biodiversity
EAC: Green jobs
EAC: Biodiversity in the UK report – Government Response
Earth’s Future: Ecological risks to river basins of climate change
EFRA Committee: ELM & the Agricultural Transition
Environment Agency: 2020 Regulations Report
Environment Agency: Natural Flood Management Programme initial findings
Environment Agency: Challenges for the water environment
Environment Agency: 3rd Climate Adaptation report
Environment Agency: National Waste Crime survey 2021
Future Earth: 10 recent insights from climate science
Green Alliance: What should river health campaigners focus on next?
Green Finance Institute: Finance Gap for UK Nature
Global Ecology & Conservation: The extent and effectiveness of protected areas
Global Witness: The true price of palm oil
Inkcap: Can hedgelaying survive?
Lancet: Green space and mortality
Lancet: Trends in UK meat consumption
MSC: Good fish guide (update)
NAO: The Environmental Land Management scheme
NAO: Understanding Storm Overflows
NbSI: Ensuring Nature-based solutions support both biodiversity & climate
NbSI: Nature-based Solutions Case Studies
NE/JNCC et al: Nature Positive 2030
NHM: Biodiversity Intactness Index
POST: Sustainable Land Management briefing
Rewilding Britain: Rewilding & the Rural Economy
Rivers Trust: State of Our Rivers | Sewage Q&A
RSPB: Bird Crime 2020
RSPB: Mind the Gap – Threats facing hedgerows
RSPB: Nature based solutions for climate adaptation
SAMS: Carbon capture & storage in natural systems within the North Sea
Storm Overflows Taskforce: Overflows evidence project
Systems Change Lab: State of Climate Action 202
UN: Agricultural support must work with nature
UN: Biodiversity Lab Maps
UN: Status of Coral Reefs 2020
UN: Marine Plastic Pollution
Upstream Thinking/CWT: Upstream Thinking Freshwater Surveys
WCL: Digging Deeper – farming, nature & people
UNEP: Economics of Peatlands Conservation, Restoration & Management
WWF/RSPB: Nature-based solutions in UK climate adaptation policy
Cornwall Council: Forest for Cornwall Project Officer
Cornwall Council: Forest for Cornwall Senior Programme Officer (Urban & Community)
Cornwall Council: Forest for Cornwall Senior Programme Officer (Planting at Scale)
Cornwall Wildlife Trust: Nature Reserve Trainees
Environment Agency: Environment Planning Officer
Environment Agency: Flood Resilience Team Leader
Tamara Landscape Partnership: Partnership Scheme Manager
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Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Nature Partnership is supported by the Nature Recovery Team at Cornwall Council | cioslnp@cornwall.gov.uk
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