Nature bodies in funding crisis

11th February 2016

Related Topics

Related tags

  • Public sector ,
  • Local government ,
  • Natural resources ,
  • Biodiversity ,
  • Ecosystems


David E James

Local nature groups launched by the government just five years ago are facing a bleak future because their funding is drying up.

In an article for the environmentalist, Peter Young, trustee of the Wildlife Trusts, says that most of England’s local nature partnerships (LNPs) are not fit for purpose since they have no stable source of funding. Many are staffed solely by people on secondment, who may be part-time and on a short-term contract, he says. ‘All the LNPs believe there’s a future for them but it’s not there now so they’re operating as shells.’

LNPs were created in 2011 through the Natural Environment White Paper, and were encouraged to form strong links with businesses and councils in local enterprise partnerships (LEPs) to support the green economy. The environment department (Defra) provided them with more than £900,000, after which they were intended to be self-sustaining, with funding leveraged through local communities and LEPs.

An evaluation by consultancy ICF International for Defra in 2015 (see attachment, below) found that 34 out of the 35 LNPs responding reported ‘considerable constraints’ in terms of time, capacity and resource. Only four were receiving funding from business. Without stable funding, businesses will lose confidence in the concept of LNPs, and there will be no-one to engage with, Young said.

The next 12 months would be crucial for the future of the LNPs, Young said, as further budget cuts to councils and Defra bodies, which are the main source of funding for many, continue to bite. ‘There’s quite a few that won’t be able to operate. I’m not sure anyone would take the notice off the door but there won’t be anyone behind it.’

Hugh Ellis, chief planner at the Town and Country Planning Association, said staffing at LNPs was ‘desperate’, adding that the government was ‘delusional’ to think that councils could to continue funding them. Annabel Lambert, RSPB policy officer, said government funding for LNPs was far lower than for LEPs, which received £500,000 each over two years just for building their strategy.

A Defra spokesperson said: ‘Many LNPs have been successful in securing additional funding. For example, the Cumbria LNP secured £429,600 from the Heritage Lottery Fund for its work on meadows.’


Subscribe to IEMA's newsletters to receive timely articles, expert opinions, event announcements, and much more, directly in your inbox.

Transform articles

IEMA supports call for more ambitious Future Homes Standard

A consortium including IEMA and the Good Homes Alliance have drafted a letter to UK government ministers expressing disappointment with the proposed Future Homes Standard.

26th February 2024

Read more

Global corporations such as Amazon and Google purchased a record 46 gigawatts (GW) of solar and wind energy last year, according to BloombergNEF (BNEF).

13th February 2024

Read more

Three-quarters of UK adults are concerned about the impact that climate change will have on their bills, according to polling commissioned by Positive Money.

13th February 2024

Read more

The reality of delivering net zero is that we need solutions tailored to specific areas. Peter Gudde explores models that local authorities could adopt

15th January 2024

Read more

Heat pump installations in UK homes increased by nearly a fifth last year, with over 200,000 now having been installed across the country.

11th January 2024

Read more

Last year was the warmest ever recorded, surpassing the previous annual high set in 2016 by a large margin, scientists have confirmed today.

9th January 2024

Read more

This year’s COP28 climate summit concluded with an “historic” agreement between countries to “transition away from fossil fuels”, although the final Global Stocktake text has been described as containing “a litany of loopholes”.

14th December 2023

Read more

The huge quantities of data we generate online every day is having an increasingly negative impact on the environment. Chris Seekings examines what is being done to tackle the problem

30th November 2023

Read more

Media enquires

Looking for an expert to speak at an event or comment on an item in the news?

Find an expert

IEMA Cookie Notice

Clicking the ‘Accept all’ button means you are accepting analytics and third-party cookies. Our website uses necessary cookies which are required in order to make our website work. In addition to these, we use analytics and third-party cookies to optimise site functionality and give you the best possible experience. To control which cookies are set, click ‘Settings’. To learn more about cookies, how we use them on our website and how to change your cookie settings please view our cookie policy.

Manage cookie settings

Our use of cookies

You can learn more detailed information in our cookie policy.

Some cookies are essential, but non-essential cookies help us to improve the experience on our site by providing insights into how the site is being used. To maintain privacy management, this relies on cookie identifiers. Resetting or deleting your browser cookies will reset these preferences.

Essential cookies

These are cookies that are required for the operation of our website. They include, for example, cookies that enable you to log into secure areas of our website.

Analytics cookies

These cookies allow us to recognise and count the number of visitors to our website and to see how visitors move around our website when they are using it. This helps us to improve the way our website works.

Advertising cookies

These cookies allow us to tailor advertising to you based on your interests. If you do not accept these cookies, you will still see adverts, but these will be more generic.

Save and close