UK Government

Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs: Hilary benn announces members of independent review of england’s wildlife sites and ecological network

Press Release   •   Dec 10, 2009 11:53 GMT

The members of an independent panel that will review England’s wildlife sites and ecological network have been announced by Environment Secretary Hilary Benn today ahead of the team’s first meeting.

The review, announced by Hilary Benn in September and to be chaired by Professor Sir John Lawton, will explore whether England’s collection of wildlife areas represents a coherent and robust ecological network that will be capable of responding to the challenges of climate change and other pressures.

To report by June 2010, the review will make prioritised recommendations on any measures that should be taken, including how Government and other organisations can work together to deliver the team’s recommendations.

Announcing the full review team ahead of its first meeting, Mr Benn said:

“I’d like to thank all of the members of the panel for taking part in this important review and I shall be following its progress with great interest. This review will see whether further action is needed to protect and enhance our range of wildlife sites so that nature can continue to thrive in a changing climate.”

Speaking before the team’s first meeting Professor Sir John Lawton said:

“Our wildlife sites have been the cornerstone of nature conservation in England, but are faced with more challenges today than ever before. The United Nations has designated 2010 as International Year of Biodiversity and this is the perfect time to determine what action we need to take so that these sites can continue to support our wildlife in the future. And of course these sites are not just for wildlife: they provide clean water, carbon storage, recreation opportunities and many other benefits to society as a whole.”

Stephanie Hilborne, Chief Executive of The Wildlife Trusts, said:

“By commissioning this review the Government has taken a significant step towards restoring the natural environment. It is vital that this group is visionary in its considerations and challenging in its recommendations.”

RSPB Chief Executive Graham Wynne said:

"I am delighted to have been asked to serve on this panel.

"This review comes at critical time for England’s wildlife, which has never been under greater pressure. It now appears certain that we will miss our target of halting biodiversity loss in the UK by 2010 and climate change is only likely to make things worse.

"I hope that under the chairmanship of Sir John Lawton we can begin to build a more secure future for England’s wildlife and for the special places it relies on in the coming decades."

Notes to editors

The full list of members of the review team is: Valerie Brown, Clive Elphick, Alistair Fitter, Jane Forshaw, Ross Haddow, Stephanie Hilborne, Professor Sir John Lawton (Chair), Richard Leafe, Georgina Mace, Mark Southgate, Bill Sutherland, Tom Tew, John Varley and Graham Wynne.

  • Biographies of review members are available on request.
  • Hilary Benn announced the review on 28 September 2009.
  • Natural England will provide secretarial support to the review team.
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