Building on the success of the Managing Green Space project, this new stream of work will re-engage with the strong community of organisations in Devon and Cornwall interested in managing land in a way that provides multiple benefits.
Pollinators, such as bees, provide an essential ecosystem service responsible for maintaining a healthy environment, human population and economy, but this project also provides a way of engaging with land owners and managers to consider a wider range of natural capital benefits – for example water quality and soil health.
The team have strong links with a wide range of Partners through the Managing Green Space project. During this time a huge opportunity was identified to scale the impacts of this work regionally and nationally to benefit bees and business.
- Integrating natural capital-based tools for pollinator management into local, regional and national decision making. The team will pilot natural capital-based farm management planning with our partners who are creating new farm management plans across. The area this covers measures over ~38,000ha and includes Defra trails areas in Cornwall. We will scale this up through our network of estates, regional partners and nationally with Natural England by predicting the effects of different land management options on pollination rates and pollinator survival to make evidence-based decisions on the costs and benefits of these options.
- Creating new business opportunities for greenspace restoration. From our previous collaborative projects (eg Bee-Steward, Green Infrastructure for Growth -GI4G) we have identified a significant demand for local wildflower seed from farmers, businesses, and conservation and Government organisations. Yet, the wildflower seed used to date has been harvested ad hoc from a limited set of local donor sites or sourced nationally from commercial companies. This provides a business opportunity for the production of regional/local wildflower seed as a novel crop. Therefore, with our partners, we will scope for opportunities for local wildflower seed production, processing and distribution.
- Building capacity within the farming sector for grass-roots natural capital management. With the aim of empowering farmers to make natural capital-based land management decisions in preparation for a New Environmental Land Management Scheme (NELMS), we will create a business plan for a Continuous Professional Development (CPD) programme on natural capital stewardship and environmental leadership. We will work with our partners to evaluate the existing market for this idea, co-creating a plan through a series of workshops with partners and tenants designed to upskill farmers, safeguards jobs and create new opportunities within the sector.
Grace has been developing and applying innovative computer-based solutions to landscape scale problems. Grace is a member of Professor Juliet Osborne’s pollinator ecology research group who have created a set of cutting-edge computer models of bee behaviour, growth and survival at the University of Exeter’s Environment and Sustainability Institute. Grace is working with partners in research, industry and the environment to apply these models to contemporary conservation and food security issues in Cornwall and the UK.
Over the course of six months, the team will tackle three packages of work.
Work package 1: CCMA review
The team will undertake a strategic review of existing CCMAs (both in the UK and any similar schemes internationally) and look into the processes and criteria used to date. They will also gather feedback from Local Planning Authorities to establish if there could be improvements made to the process, or if there were any difficulties.
There will be a particular focus in helping planners to implement CCMAs quickly, and with greater consideration for existing coastal engineering works and other planning policies. A key component of the review will focus on how CCMAs could take the future effects of climate change into account.
Work Package 2: CCMA Methodology
This part of the project will aim to establish a clear set of guidelines and a logical work-flow for the development of new CCMAs. The guidelines will be designed to be relevant and applicable to any Local Planning Authority needing to consider coastal management. It is hoped that as a result of these guidelines, new CCMAs will be created in addition to the initial sites covered by this project.
Using existing coastal erosion data, the team will generate coastal change maps that can be used to identify areas where significant coastal change is likely to be expected within the next 100 years. Particular focus will be given to areas where risks have already been identified – either through coastal flooding/sea level rise, or potential loss of habitats.
Work Package 3: Case study CCMAs
This part of the project will focus on the generation, delivery, and integration of CCMAs into planning policy and planning decisions for the two case study sites – namely the Taw Torridge estuary and Sidmouth coastline. Working closely with Local Planning Authorities, the team will follow the guidance created in Work Package 2 to develop new CCMAs that will provide protection for the coastline and complement local council priorities.
...and beyond: National Policy Revision
A long term ambition, outside of the scope of this SWEEP project, is to work with the Local Planning Authorities to help them approach the Department of Housing Communities and Local Government (DHCLG) to improve the current practices and poor uptake of adopting CCMAs nationally. There is a strong appetite to improve existing national policy to ensure councils are better supported throughout the CCMA process, which will also ensure the impact of the project extends beyond the South West region.