Progress on Natural England's Uplands Delivery Review

Natural England has been undertaking a review of Uplands evidence and have published their findings

This is the first of Natural England’s evidence reviews and it addresses 5 topics which were identified with stakeholder input.  It reflects on areas of advice that are subject to challenge and looks at what could make a difference on the ground.

The publication includes the methodology and the assurance process as well as the five topic reviews.

The five topics were:

  • The impact of tracks on the integrity and hydrological function of blanket bog
  • Restoration of degraded blanket bog
  • The effects of managed burning on upland peatland biodiversity, carbon and water
  • Upland hay meadows: what management regimes maintain the diversity of meadow flora and populations of breeding birds
  • Moorland grazing & stocking rates

The review programme provides NE with the ability to refer to the evidence underpinning the management advice they provide. Some of the areas discussed were:

  • How tracks affect the structure of blanket peat and its hydrological system.
  • Is a full recovery to a functioning blanket bog possible?
  • What happens after the burning of blanket bog and wet heath, how are the habitat species affected?
  • What type and quantity of fertiliser can be applied to upland hay meadows without a negative impact on species diversity?
  • The moorland grazing & stocking rate topic has been documented it is notable however that very little (approximately 20%) of the evidence can be considered as ‘strong’ - does one size fits all?

It must be emphasised that these are just some of the discussion subjects and that the full reviews are much more detailed.

Natural England will now spend the next two months evaluating the need for amendment to the guidance they provide to our advisers. Thye will be consulting  in the summer on any proposals for changes, but if you have any suggestions in the meantime please do not hesitate to contact the NE Uplands Evidence Review mailbox. Any changes agreed will be incorporated in revised guidance in the autumn, with a view to completion by the end of the year.

In future all guidance used by NE staff will be made available on the internet.