Natural Devon Newsletter (Devon LNP)

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Newsletter 4 - October 2014

Natural Devon is a collaboration of all those working to ensure that a healthy natural environment underpins a high quality of life across the county.    

To find out more visit our website,, read our Prospectus and please get involved.  Contacts  for specific themes can be found in the newsletter below.  Alternatively contact the Board member representing your sector (see website) or Sarah Jennings, Natural Devon Coordinator -


Update from Suzanne Goodfellow, Natural Devon's Chair

It has been an active and productive summer as we have worked together to develop Natural Devon's role, coordinating and facilitating new initiatives and supporting exciting projects around the county in line with our Prospectus.

Theme leads are doing great work in bringing people together from a wide range of sectors to discuss synergies, gaps in delivery and next steps.  Our Naturally Healthy work has been especially well received.  We have published the results of our research into the barriers preventing people from being naturally active and presented this at a national Defra workshop.  Links were made with Natural England's national health lead who has part funded a Devon schools project looking at the health benefits of Outdoor Learning.    Workshops have also been held to discuss wood fuel initiatives and to develop a Devon marine action planA brief update on all themes is given below, more information can be found on our website and headline actions are set out in our rolling Action Plan.    

Some of you will have been involved in the two Devon agri-environment data workshops held this summer.  Given concerns expressed at these events we wrote to the Minister (on behalf of all LNPs) and I attended the national stakeholder group meeting.  Discussions relating to the use of local data are ongoing.  We now have the opportunity to comment on Targeting Statements, please see the NELMS article below for more information. 

Many thanks to all those who are working so willingly with others to protect and improve Devon’s environment, grow our green economy and reconnect people with nature – in partnership!

Work with the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP)

Suzanne Goodfellow and Harry Barton (CEO of Devon Wildlife Trust) now represent the environment sector on the LEP Committee responsible for the allocation of £116 million of European funding.  

The LEP and LNPs (Devon, Somerset and Plymouth) are planning to organise a workshop (Nov / Dec) in order to identify pipeline environmental projects and clarify how to maximise environmental opportunities from other projects.  We will keep everyone informed of opportunities to input into this process.  The LEP has also established a new group to explore the barriers to delivering on its commitment to the environment.  Mark Robins represents the LNP on this group which will report in early 2015.   

Contact:  Suzanne Goodfellow or Mark Robins

Ministerial visit

Lord de Mauley (under Secretary of State for the natural environment and science) is visiting Devon in November to find out more about Natural Devon's work.  We will be discussing issues relating to health, the green economy and land management (on site at Witheridge Moor). 

Call for dissertation projects

If you have ideas for a project that could be taken forward as a dissertation by students at Exeter or Plymouth Universities please let us have the details in order that we can create a register of student projects on the Natural Devon website.  Email

bog hoverfly


Sustainable Seas

Our September workshop brought together organisations working on Devon's marine environment in order to develop an action plan for our Sustainable Seas theme and identify some quick wins.  Three projects were identified for early delivery:  (i) a central hub for marine natural environment data (ii) a register of research activities and questions (iii) a register of existing marine projects and initiatives.  A data meeting is being held in November and a final action plan should be out by the end of the year.  Notes from the meeting and a draft action plan can be found here.  Please contact Richard White if you would like to get involved. 

 Contacts for the Sustainable Seas priority theme:  Richard White (DWT) and Professor Martin Attrill (Plymouth University)

Naturally Healthy

Naturally Healthy

Workshop - how you can help people to be  'naturally active' 

An event is being held on Thursday 27th November in Exeter to disseminate the findings of our research into the barriers which prevent people from being naturally active.  Presentations from Public Health, Active Devon, Devon Wildlife Trust and the National Parks will stimulate discussion and ideas.  To book a place or find out more email Mabel Harris.  Places are limited.  See the behaviour change scoping report.

Our Naturally Healthy work has been published as a case study in the Public Health England publication ‘Paths to Public Health and wellbeing’.

Contacts for this Naturally Healthy priority theme:  Patsy Temple (Public Health) and Susan Warren (Devon Wildlife Trust)     

Outdoor Learning


Funding secured for a schools project

The Outdoor Learning theme is led by the Devon Education for Sustainability Working Group (DESWG).  Following an LNP meeting with Natural England DESWG has received funding from Natural England, CPRE Devon and Natural Devon for a two year project to demonstrate the health benefits of embedding outdoor learning into schools.  

DESWG is also planning an Outdoor Learning conference for 2015.  Further information on the project and conference will be available on Natural Devon's website shortly. 

Contacts for this Outdoor Learning priority theme:  David Weatherley (schools improvement adviser and DESWG Chair) and Orlando Rutter (DNPA) 

Farming with Nature

east devon bat landscape

Our Farming with Nature task group has identified a few short term priority actions:  (i) support for the 2015 Devon Farming, Food and Nature conference, (ii) organising sustainable intensification events  (iii) encouraging farmer led groups to bid for NELMS funding  and  (iv) ensuring that Devon's farm advisers are aware of best practice in relation to business and environmental management.  We are working with the Western Morning News to raise the profile of Devon farmers who are optimising environmental management on commercial farms.

Contacts for this Farming with Nature priority theme:  Paul Cottington (NFU) and Roland Stonex (SW FWAG). 

NELMS Targeting Statements – your opportunity to comment

Targeting Statements are now being prepared for each National Character Area.  The statements will be very formulaic and so scope for comments will be limited.  However, Natural England is keen for stakeholders to comment on accuracy and to highlight any significant errors.  The draft statements will be available on Natural Devon's website in early November.  Comments will be gathered via a quick online survey over a two week period. 

Also see the Chair's Update for a brief update on the use of local data.

If you have any further question please contact David Appleton or

Short film - farming and wildlife in North Devon

In a new short film farmers explain how the Northern Devon Nature Improvement Area is helping them to manage their land in a more wildlife friendly way.  Find out more about the Northern Devon NIA, and how you can get involved, at

Green Connections

We already have a number of Green Infrastructure Partnerships doing great work across the county.  A Devon Green Infrastructure group now meets twice a year to share learning and lead our Green Connections theme.  Natural Devon's website will be developed as a first stop shop for Devon case studies, examples of best practice etc.  If you are interested in attending the meetings or have good examples of best practice to share please email Mabel Harris.    

Contacts for this Green Connections priority theme:  Jonny Miller (Teignbridge District Council) and Tracy Brooks (Torbay Council)         

Suds cartoon

Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS)

Devon County Council as the Lead Local Flood Authority is currently developing a guidance note for the management of surface water from new development.  Contact Mark Fox.

Implementation of the SuDS Approval Body, as required under the Flood and Water Management Act 2010, is yet to be determined by government.  New proposals may give Local Planning Authorities the responsibility of approving SuDS and ensuring that maintenance regimes are in place. 

Susdrain have produced a great short animation that provides an engaging and digestible overview of SuDS

Resilient Wetlands

dit creek

Leads for this theme recently met with South West Water, West Country Rivers Trust, DWT and FWAG SW to carry out a gap analysis, identify priority actions and discuss the potential for Catchment Partnerships to take this theme forwards under the Natural Devon 'umbrella'.  The gap analysis and proposed next steps will be available on the website shortly for comment.

Contacts for this Resilient Wetlands priority theme:  Mark Rice (EA) and Orlando Venn (NE)    

Catchment Partnerships in Devon

In order to meet European Water Framework Directive targets government has encouraged the creation of catchment partnerships across England.  Their main aim is to deliver improved water quality.  Catchment Partnerships in Devon are:  

- The River Tamar (hosted by the Westcountry Rivers Trust), 

- North Devon (hosted by Westcountry Rivers Trust, DWT and North Devon AONB under the auspices of the North Devon Biosphere Partnership).

- South Devon(hosted by Westcountry Rivers Trust and South Devon AONB).

- East Devon(hosted by Westcountry Rivers Trust and DWT).

Hosts have been running a series of events to understand existing work and activities needed.  See West Country Rivers Trust.

Somerset case study -  the role of land management in flood risk reduction

Since 2009 Defra has been running three projects looking at the effectiveness of land use measures to manage flood risk.  Evidence from the Somerset project has shown that a range of natural flood management measures have reduced downstream flood risk.  Further information can be found at Symposium Headlines, Holnicote.  

Wood for Good

Dartmoor Circle and Sustainable South Brent

Woodfuel brainstorming

Our March conference identified the demand for further discussion on wood fuel initiatives.  Representatives from energy, forestry, environment and economic sectors came together in July to link up Devon wood fuel projects and discuss potential project ideas and funding bids.  A gap analysis is now being finalised and project ideas developed in liaison with the LEP's Rural Interest Group.  Further information (including a list of projects) can be found using the weblink below.  To get involved contact Doug Eltham or Corinna Woodall.

Contacts for this Wood for Good priority theme:  Corinna Woodall (Tamar Valley AONB) and Mark Prior (FC)                 

Hedge Fuel for All - call for communities to get involved 

With Big Lottery funding, the Devon Hedge Group is helping local communities to work with farmers to manage and crop hedges for firewood.  Groups have been set up in South Brent and Crediton, and a successful meeting has just been held at Chagford.  If you would like to get involved or find out more contact Andrew Shadrake.         

Logo Year of the Hedge

Other news......

 Evidence for the benefits of investment in the environment

The report, ‘Microeconomic Evidence for the Benefits of Investment in the Environment’ assesses the evidence across a wide range of themes, including economic growth, health, social cohesion and resilience to climate change. 

Devon Mammal Group Symposium "60 Years of Celebrating Mammals" 

This symposium is being held on Saturday 8th November 2014 at the University of Exeter.  For further information see the Mammal Group website

Good news for Blackdown Hills Natural Futures

The Blackdown Hills Natural Futures project – a three-year community biodiversity initiative – has been awarded £246,000 from Heritage Lottery.  For details, including information on the current recruitment process (closing date 2nd November) see the AONB website.    

Proposed reductions to the funding of Torbay Coast and Countryside Trust

In order to achieve required financial savings Torbay Council has proposed reductions to the funding of Torbay Coast and Countryside Trust.  An e petition was launched encouraging the Authority to reconsider this decision in the light of the consequences that this will have for the Bay’s exceptional natural environment and its important contribution to  the social and economic wellbeing of its residents.  The e petition has now closed so please contact the Council or Trust for further information. 


If you love nature then vote for Bob

In the run up to the general election the RSPB has launched a petition to challenge party leaders to take care of our natural places.   

Links to Devon Partnerships

Devon Catchment Partnerships

Devon Countryside Access Forum  

Devon Education for Sustainability Working Group

Devon Green Infrastructure Partnerships

Devon Hedge Group

Devon Landscape Policy Group

Devon Maritime Forum

Devon National Parks

Devon's Protected Landscape Partnerships

Devon Wildlife Strategy Group

This newsletter has been sent to you because you have expressed an interest in the issues covered by the Devon Local Nature Partnership.  To provide contributions to the next newsletter or unsuscribe please email