New NaturePlan website seeks local views to support nature’s recovery

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A brand-new ‘NaturePlan’ website has been launched to engage the public and other stakeholders in vital plans to enhance local habitats and species.The project will gather essential information to help shape a Local Nature Recovery Strategy, focused on restoring nature and is encouraging as many people as possible to visit the new website and share their insights and experiences with nature.

The project, covering the areas of Gateshead, South Tyneside and Sunderland, aims to gather essential information to help shape a Local Nature Recovery Strategy (LNRS), focused on restoring nature, combating climate change and achieving wider environmental and social benefits.

The new NaturePlan website is packed with information about the local area and includes an interactive biodiversity map. It will also serve as the go-to place for progress updates as the strategy evolves.

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NaturePlan is the South of Tyne and Wear Local Nature Recovery Strategy: one of a new, England-wide system of regional strategies for nature established under the Environment Act 2021.

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A core feature of developing NaturePlan is an online questionnaire designed to collect data on people's perceptions and understanding of nature, as well as their access to it.

Anneliese Hutchinson, Interim Strategic Director, Economy, Innovation and Growth at Gateshead Council, explains: “NaturePlan will provide a roadmap for nature’s recovery, supporting efforts to tackle the ecological and climate emergencies and benefiting the health and wellbeing of our communities.

“By recognising the benefits of a healthy natural environment that’s rich in wildlife, we hope to inspire people to visit the NaturePlan website and help us plan for nature’s recovery.”

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The website also includes an interactive map where individuals and organisations can identify and highlight areas they consider to be important for nature, or areas where nature needs more help.

The primary goal of the LNRS is to identify areas where the creation or enhancement of habitats will offer the greatest benefits for nature and the wider environment. The strategy is designed to empower residents and communities across Gateshead, South Tyneside and Sunderland to take meaningful action for nature.

Stuart Wright, Director of Place and Communities at South Tyneside Council, explains: “Whether you’re a concerned resident, a local landowner or business, a policymaker or simply someone with an interest in conservation, the new NaturePlan website offers valuable resources to support your efforts in restoring and valuing vital natural habitats in your area, and beyond.”

By involving individuals, community groups, private and voluntary sectors in its preparation, the resulting strategy will use valuable insights and local knowledge to ensure successful delivery of its objectives.

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Peter McIntyre, Executive Director of City Development at Sunderland City Council, added: “The launch of the NaturePlan website is an important step as we seek to engage with all of our communities to gather information and ensure we can make impactful decisions for nature and the environment.

As part of the development of NaturePlan we are encouraging as many people as possible to visit the new website and share their insights and experiences with nature.

Visit natureplan.org.uk to learn more about the LNRS and how you can contribute via the online questionnaire.

About the Local Nature Recovery Strategy (LNRS):The LNRS is a collaborative initiative by Gateshead Council, South Tyneside Council, Sunderland City Council, DEFRA and other partners, aimed at enhancing biodiversity and the natural environment. By working together with the community, the strategy aims to create a healthier and more resilient natural environment.