IEMA also hosted an additional workshop of experts across the IEMA membership and wider professional landscape to create a robust and detailed response. Protected sites are essential to halt the loss of rare and declining habitats and species. A summary of our recommendations are as follows:
- There is evidence that the laws and to a greater degree the framework around those laws are not working and sites are becoming nature depleted.
- The laws on Protected Sites should be updated and adapted (not removed) to have a greater focus on maintaining and improving irreplaceable habitats and priority habitats, enhancing populations and priority species and providing space for nature to adapt within them.
- Protected Sites currently ‘stand alone’ and plans (see below) should include ways to improve connectivity with habitats. New Protected Sites might be created from Local Wildlife Sites to give them further protection.
- Current monitoring reports must be replaced with mandatory reports every five or six years that include forward plans for managing the Protected Site alongside biodiversity trends.
- Plans must be coordinated and shared with land stakeholders who have roles to play in managing protected sites. Data collected should be freely accessible. Monitoring methods should be improved.
- Government agencies who are responsible for Protected Sites must have sufficient resources including capacity, knowledge, finances and means of enforcement, to ensure that Protected Sites are protected. The full consultation can be found on the OEP’s website.
Posted on 26th April 2023
Written by Lesley Wilson
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