Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Natural England’s Uplands Evidence Review

The Uplands Evidence Review has been running for several months and is now drawing to a close. The Natural England website has all the details, but in summary, five topics were chosen to be reviewed: tracks on peatland, burning impact of burning on peatland, upland hay meadows, sustainable stocking regimes and restoring degraded blanket bog.

I have been contributing to the review of tracks, and I was pleased that this was one of the lighter topics. Even so, there seemed to be no shortage of scientific papers to be reviewed, while producing the review group's report.  Our report has been sent to the Assurance Group, who will be reviewing all the reports, prior to submitting them to Natural England.

The process is due to complete by the end of March.  Natural England is running a workshop in York on 26 March, which I will be attending.  During the workshop, Natural England will present the five reports and invite comment.

This has been a massive project, and I suspect that the amount of work involved has exceeded everybody's expectations. However, it will be a very useful resource, but in many ways, I will be more interested in the next phase.

This will consider the current policy and guidance within Natural England and compare this with the findings of the five topic reports, including the knowledge gaps that have been identified. Consideration will then be given to whether changes to current policy and/or advice will be required.

The process to date has been academic, but once this phase is completed, the review of policy and advice may start to have an impact on the management of the uplands. I will provide some feedback, through this blog, after the meeting on 26 March.

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