Natural England has a statutory role to work alongside a range of stakeholders to ensure the sustainable management of the uplands. As the pressures on these areas increases our work is subject to greater scrutiny, making it ever more important that our advice and decisions are based on the best available evidence and that the related evidence gathering processes are seen to be transparent and robust. This review programme was undertaken to help ensure that Natural England uses the most robust evidence available when formulating advice and taking decisions related to our work in the uplands.
The review concentrated on the evidence relating to biodiversity and ecosystem services in the uplands and the impact of land management activities upon them.
The review considered five priority topics in depth, each topic focused on a series of questions which were evaluated against the scientific evidence. The topics were identified following stakeholder input and reflection on areas where our evidence and advice was subject to the greatest challenge. The five topics include this report and those listed in the related records below.
Other relevant information such as social and economic factors, current working practices and geographic scale did not form part of this evidence review. These factors, together with consideration of the conclusions from the review programme, will be included in the next stages of our work to review and update our uplands delivery in the round.
After publication of the review we will work to identify the consequential changes needed in the guidance we provide our staff. We will continue to engage fully with our stakeholders on what needs to change (July), in what way (late summer) and sharing revised guidance by the end of the year.