Nature protection and restoration

Nature needs our help. We’re working to protect and restore natural environments, safeguarding the best sites for wildlife and preventing further declines of wild birds.

A Starling murmuration flying overhead in a sunset sky.
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Protecting special sites

Many of our most important places for wildlife are protected as Sites of Special Scientific Interest (Areas of Special Scientific Interest in Northern Ireland). Some of them also form part of a network of internationally important protected sites – Special Protection Areas, Special Areas of Conservation and Ramsar sites. 

We work to ensure that the right places get these kinds of statutory designations, both on land and at sea, and that once designated, they are managed to protect nature. We will hold governments and statutory nature conservation bodies in all parts of the UK to account for their role in designating and managing protected sites, including how their condition is monitored. We will also work with partners so that wider protected landscapes, such as National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, help to deliver nature’s recovery too. 

A view across snowy heathland

Planning with nature in mind

Land use planning helps to bring together the various economic, social and environmental issues linked with proposals for new development. It determines the location and design of housing, industry, retail, energy, and leisure developments as well as much more. It also helps protect the countryside, and it shapes the future of the places where we live.

Biodiversity and nature-protection should be key to every part of the planning process so that everyone has the opportunity to live in, work in or visit a nature-friendly environment. 

Our work is based around 12 principles of good spatial planning including that plans should contribute to sustainable development by enhancing the natural environment, and that social and economic development should take place within environmental limits.

We work with central and local governments, developers and other bodies to ensure that these principles are put into practice in each planning system in the UK. This can be through protecting our most special places, making housing as nature-friendly as possible, or supporting the creation of spaces that bring wildlife to our doorsteps. 

Aerial view of four houses under construction, surrounded by machinery and construction materials.

Saving Special Places

Special places for wildlife are precious treasures of our natural environment. Once they are designated, they still need to be protected from damaging development. We do this by: 

  • Campaigning for strong laws and safeguards which protect important wildlife sites.
  • Speaking to governments to ensure planning policies and associated guidance promote the conservation of important sites. 
  • Influencing strategic plans and opposing damaging schemes to ensure development proposals do not harm important wildlife sites. 
  • Advising and empowering our supporters so they can get involved and give nature a voice 
  • Working in partnership with other organisations to protect priority sites
The view of the cliffs at Ramsey Island.
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