New consultation on conservation covenants: National Trust reaction

Today the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has launched a new consultation on conservation covenants, voluntary agreements to protect nature. We welcome the consultation and look forward to engaging with it. Here’s a statement from our Outdoors and Natural Resources Director, Patrick Begg.

Hambleden Valley in Buckinghamshire, protected by National Trust conservation covenant ©National Trust Images/Hugh Mothersole

“The Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan aims to restore and protect our historic and natural environment for generations to come. Conservation covenants will be a powerful tool for achieving the Plan and taking care of the environment in perpetuity. They can help to deliver other parts of the Plan too  – such as ensuring that land created as ‘biodiversity net gain’ is not developed in the future, and maximises the benefit for the environment.”

“Our own experience with National Trust covenants, which can prevent certain interventions (so-called ‘restrictive covenants’), has taught us how effective they can be. A scheme of covenants for everyone in England, that can restrict or enforce different activities, could be extremely effective. It could, for example, help to re-open former flood plains up to rivers, reducing flooding downstream and creating new habitat for wildlife to live and maybe even people to explore. This scheme may help to guarantee the kind of long-term care many ailing parts of our countryside badly need”.


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