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Plantlife and partners speak up on government disposal plans
Following government plans that may involve public land disposals, Plantlife works with partners to secure the right results for wildlife.
November 12 2010
Plantlife is working with a partnership of other conservation and environmental non-governmental organisations to respond to government plans that may involve the disposal of parts of the countryside currently owned or managed by state agencies including Natural England and the Forestry Commission England (FCE).
The objective is to ensure that habitats and landscapes are secured for wildlife for the future and that any disposal processes take account of the needs of nature first. Much seemingly unprotected land is rich in plant life – for example, the FCE holding supports 208 of our rarer 588 vascular plant species (35%), of which 47 are UK Biodiversity Action Plan priority species.
With partners, Plantlife has contributed to a set of 'Public Land Principles' which set out the approach we believe should be taken to any proposed disposal process.
The group of nature NGOs working together to stand up for wildlife and the environment includes Plantlife, the RSPB, the National Trust, Butterfly Conservation and the Wildlife Trusts. Together they have set out a joint view on how disposals of public land (including National Nature Reserves, Forestry Commission holdings (the Public Forest estate) and other state owned land) should be conducted if disposals are inevitable.
Public Land Principles
The group’s discussions have resulted in a set of ‘Public Land Principles’, which have been sent to a number of government departments and related bodies including Defra, Natural England, the Forestry Commission England and the Environment Agency. The principles aim to inform delivery models for public benefit associated with public sector land, and include key tests to ensure
- No net loss for nature/heritage conservation and public access;
- Capacity of civil society is enhanced, and
- Protection of natural and public value of the land.
To achieve this, the principles suggest
- Government should screen proposed land sales to identify those which hold high public heritage value;
- The freehold of public land of high conservation should be retained by the State or vested in a third-sector body with objectives matched to the conservation of its natural environment value;
- Sponsored sale of non-designated with recognised public benefit;
- Open market sale of public land of low heritage value;
- Disposal conditions should provide for enhanced engagement with local people and communities; and
- Funding is provided by the State appropriate to the delivery of outcomes identified.
You can download a full outline of the Public Land Principles by clicking here.
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