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Influencing positive policies for our grasslands

Plantlife has been speaking up for species-rich grasslands and their carbon-rich soils, both in the UK and across the globe.

Hikers walking through long grass.

We have increased our calls to restore vital grasslands across the UK and beyond by stepping up our advocacy work with governments, civil servants, the farming industry and public. 

Our efforts during 2022/23 have largely focused on raising awareness and influencing policy-makers. Species-rich grasslands play an essential role and have potential to act as a nature-based solution to climate change. By shouting about their benefits, we hope to persuade governments to improve their protection and management while also attempting large-scale restoration.


Our advocacy role

We have taken a raft of action to drive forward our campaign during 2022/23. This has included:  

  • Leading calls for the UK Government to commit to developing a grassland action plan for England. We were supported by 22 farming and conservation organisations and received a positive reply from the Defra minister. As a result, our dialogue with the government is continuing into 2023/24. 
  • Raising awareness and building support for investment in grasslands with the UK Climate Change Committee, conservation agencies and government departments. We produced blogs, videos and presentations which have inspired new collaborations with these partners. 
  • Building a robust evidence base on the value of grasslands, including a new briefing on carbon storage and sequestration. This showed that grassland soil carbon has been hugely undervalued and overlooked, leading to threats such as inappropriate tree-planting or conversion to other uses. To help us better understand the current status of grasslands, we have jointly commissioned further reports with WWF UK. These studies will examine historic trends and the ecosystem services which grasslands can provide and will be published in 2023/24. 
  • Influencing the development of new agri-environment schemes in England, Scotland and Wales. This has seen us respond to government consultations and work directly with civil servants to input into their design. We have also collaborated with farming organisations, such as Nature Friendly Farming Network and Pasture for Life, to better understand what support farmers need to maintain and restore grasslands.  
A close up of Red-trailed bumblebee on a Red Clover, the background is green and out of focus

Spreading our message across the globe

Our efforts have not been limited to the UK. On the international stage, we have: 

  • Advocated for similar recognition of the role grasslands can play in tackling and adapting to climate change.  
  • Published a joint briefing alongside WWF International which called for global action to restore and protect grasslands. We took the opportunity to promote this important document at the UN climate conference (COP27) in November.  
  • Supported our CEO Ian Dunn, who co-hosted a panel discussion on grasslands at UN biodiversity conference (COP15) in December. 

More ‘Work in Partnerships’ Projects

Nature recovery from the bottom up
Yellow rattle in a meadow

Nature recovery from the bottom up

We’re using the introduction of Local Nature Recovery Strategies (LNRS) to advocate for wild plants and fungi and their protection.

The impact of our work on nitrogen and peat
Landscape image of water rippling against the peatland on a cold overcast day

The impact of our work on nitrogen and peat

We’re working in partnership to tackle the threats which nitrogen pollution and peat sales pose to wild plants and fungi.

Saving Wales’ threatened species
Two people with looking at a plant with the mountain in the back drop

Saving Wales’ threatened species

Our exciting plans for Natur am Byth, Wales’ flagship green recovery project, were fully developed during 2022/23, paving the way for the initiative to begin in earnest in summer 2023.