FARMERS and land managers across Craven and the Dales are being asked to share their views on how nature can be encouraged alongside their businesses - and one of a series of meetings is due to take place in Skipton on Thursday, February 22. 

In an effort to help address the decline of nature and to improve the environment, North Yorkshire Council has been appointed by The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) to produce a Local Nature Recovery Strategy (LNRS).

It is one of 49 other such strategies being prepared across England usually at county or combined authority level.

The strategy, covering North Yorkshire and York, will aim to identify locations to improve nature and provide other benefits, such as capturing carbon from the atmosphere, flood regulation and access to nature-rich spaces where this is most needed for health and wellbeing.

It aims to not only improve prospects for wildlife but can also help businesses become more resilient to the effects of climate change and deliver wider environmental benefits.

People are also being asked by the council to tell it what they have already achieved in nature recovery projects, by sending in details and pictures.

Councillor Greg White, North Yorkshire Council’s executive member for managing our environment,said: "The LNRS for North Yorkshire and York will map nature in our region and identify an action plan to help safeguard it for the future.

"Key to the strategy’s success will be the support of farmers and land managers to understand what we can do to help nature to flourish. We are keen to learn from their local knowledge and expertise in managing land and food production, to feed this into the draft strategy.”

The strategy is expected to better assist farmers and land managers to access Environmental Land Management schemes (ELMs) incentives and Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) opportunities, by guiding where actions for nature in their areas will be most beneficial.

Once published it is expected that this will also be a useful resource which farmers and land managers can utilise to inform future applications for funding.

Nature underpins our lives - from street trees to rivers, nature provides us with food, water, captures carbon from the atmosphere and provides us with clean air. Walks in nature help us stay physically and mentally healthy, and urban and rural wildlife sightings bring joy to many people.

However, we've witnessed a significant decline in the health of North Yorkshire's natural environment. Despite some successes, the populations of most of our species have been in continuous decline for decades, mainly linked to the loss of the habitats they rely upon. These declines are due to complex factors, including pollution, pesticide use, disease, development, loss of traditional land management practices and climate change.

The Local Nature Recovery Strategy for North Yorkshire and York aims to reverse this nature loss by setting out where and how to manage land and water to create a network of nature-rich sites that are bigger, better managed and more joined-up across the county and across the country.

A range of organisations are already helping to protect nature. The North Yorkshire and York Local Nature Partnership is promoting the value of nature to all and highlighting how nature can help address issues and create opportunities in the business and health sectors.

Environmental organisations like the river catchment partnerships, White Rose Forest (which includes Broughton Sanctuary, near Skipton, and the Yorkshire Peat Partnership are working with land managers to explore how habitat creation can lead to additional benefits, including financial income, reducing the risk of flooding, better air and water quality and capturing carbon from the atmosphere. These are all supported by many people working on local projects on the ground to help nature recover.

More than 100,000 trees have been planted near Settle in a project which will produce sustainable timber, help with flood prevention, and provide a habitat for raptors, otters and red squirrels.

Forestry firm Tilhill, working with the landowner, has created the new woodland on a 47-hectare site at Mearbeck, in the project that has been welcomed by the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority. The firm, which offers sustainable forest and woodland management services to owners, has also been working with Clapham-based charity Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust to provide public access and wildlife habitat at the site.

Working in partnership with the National Farmers’ Union (NFU), the council is holding events across the county. Places are free and limited to 25 people per event and will be followed by a light meal.

The first meeting takes place at Thirsk Auction Mart on February 19, and the third is due to take place on Thursday, February 22, from 11.30am to 12.30pm at Skipton Auction Mart, Gargrave Road, Skipton. Further meetings are to take place in Great Ayton, Northallerton, Ripon and Malton.

To register a place email stating which date and venue you would like to attend, or visit