This plan is a response to the need to take a radically different approach to conserving wildlife and habitats We are setting out better ways of doing things in order to 'halt the loss of biodiversity and restore ecosystem functioning' in line with the European 2020 target for biodiversity.
The recent Lawton report (2010) supports this approach. The report recommends enhancing England's ecological networks, which it states 'have become widely recognised as an effective response to conserve wildlife in environments that have become fragmented by human activities (source: Making Space for Nature: A review of England's Wildlife Sites and Ecological Network (pdf). The report also makes recommendations about how an improvement in this network can be achieved and its philosophy underpins the work outlined in this Delivery Plan.
An ecological network comprises a suite of high quality sites which collectively contain the diversity and area of habitat that are needed to support species and which have ecological connections between that enable species, or at least their genes to move. Source: Making Space for Nature: A review of England's Wildlife Sites and Ecological Network
With this Plan we are embracing a fresh approach to delivery of nature conservation - one which brings real benefits to both people and wildlife, now and into the future. This approach is still at an early stage but there are developing examples of good practice to learn from and build on; for example The Wildlife Trusts Living Landscapes, and the RSPB's Futurescapes, and The Neroche Project.