Nature Improvement Areas welcome but must not stifle development, says CLA.

22 October 2013

The CLA has welcomed the 12 Nature Improvement Areas (NIAs) announced today (27 February) by Defra, while stressing the plans to create new havens for wildlife and restore habitats must not stifle development.

CLA President Harry Cotterell said: "It is good that the Government has committed itself to encouraging farmers and land managers to work collaboratively with local authorities and other groups.

"We have long argued for this landscape-scale approach of working to address environmental challenges such as improving water quality, and addressing the decline of some of our native wildlife. We are pleased these partnerships are being promoted to get the best for landscapes and biodiversity at a local level."

However, Mr Cotterell added that NIAs must secure innovative new sources of funding if their ambition is to be realised.

He said: "Environment Minister Richard Benyon has assured CLA members that NIAs will not be used to stifle economic development so it is vital these areas are not underpinned by additional local planning constraints because this was never the intended approach."

Minister for the Natural Environment and Fisheries Richard Benyon MP wrote in the January 2012 issue of CLA members' magazine Land & Business that: "....it is absolutely not the intention of NIAs to stifle sustainable development within the area; economic development within an NIA will of course remain vital and many development proposals will have no or minimal impact on the overall objectives of the NIA. Government recognition of an NIA....will not in itself confer any status on the area in planning terms..."

Read more about Defra's plans for Nature Improvement Areas