Natural England is the government agency responsible for conserving and enhancing biodiversity, and enabling more people to enjoy the natural world, whilst ensuring that wildlife can co-exist alongside a thriving rural community. We are continually growing our knowledge and evidence base to better understand the natural environment, the current and future pressures on it, and people’s relationship with it.
One of our roles is to protect species and habitats via designations such as Sites of Special Scientific Interest, of which the Churnet Valley forms one of the largest in Staffordshire outside the Peak District National Park. Through our Environmental Stewardship scheme we already work with farmers and other land managers in the area, offering advice and financial support for delivering environment-friendly measures such as protecting wildflower rich hay meadows, ancient woodlands and traditional dry stone walls. We also support farmers who wish to host educational visits by schoolchildren.
Defra has appointed Natural England its lead delivery body for the England Biodiversity Strategy which aims to take forward conservation of priority habitats and whole ecosystems at a landscape scale. As part of this, new Integrated Biodiversity Delivery Areas are being piloted, within one of which the Churnet Valley lies. As such, Natural England considers the Churnet Valley Living Landscape Project extremely important because of the opportunities it can create for different bodies to work together in partnership with local communities.