Dorset Local Nature Partnership

Dorset Local Nature Partnership

Farming at Ringstead

What area does the Dorset LNP cover?

The Dorset LNP covers the shire county of Dorset and the unitary areas of Bournemouth and Poole.

Dorset LNP’s Vision

Dorset LNP adopted its Vision and Strategy in March 2014.

In Summary the Dorset LNP is working towards a future in which:

  • Dorset’s natural environment is richer in quality and diversity, and more resilient to change in urban and rural areas and in the marine environment.
  • Dorset’s natural systems are providing a wider and more valuable range of services, more reliably, to people and wildlife.
  • Dorset’s communities have increased understanding of, better access to and are more engaged in and supportive of the care and management of Dorset’s environment, for its own sake, and for the benefits it offers them.
  • Dorset’s outstanding natural value is recognised, protected, enhanced, celebrated and invested in.
  • Dorset’s environment contributes to and benefits from development of a low-carbon, resource efficient and socially inclusive economy in which greener business practices are widely adopted.
  • Dorset’s wildlife sites are bigger, better and more joined up, giving them greater resilience in the face of future change and challenges.
  • Dorset’s world class terrestrial, coastal and marine environment is recognised as what makes Dorset a great place to live, work and visit.
  • It is recognised that a healthy natural environment and a strong and sustainable local economy are mutually dependent.
  • Maintenance of a healthy environment is recognised as a critical success factor in the wellbeing of current and future generations.
  • Development and growth in Dorset is planned so that the natural resource on which the development is based is enhanced and not eroded, thus restricting future development.
  • The natural environment is not thought of as a constraint to be overcome, rather it is the basis upon which growth and development can be sustained and therefore consistently requires both protection and enhancement to deliver such benefits.
  • Dorset’s impacts on the global environment are reduced.

Strategic priorities

The Dorset LNP has identified six strategic priorities which will guide our actions in the short and longer term:

  1. Natural capital - investing in Dorset’s natural assets: Dorset has some exceptional natural assets which already underpin the economic and social wellbeing of the county. There is a growing body of evidence that investing in natural areas produces benefits well in excess of costs. We need to apply this principle to maintain and enhance our finest natural areas so that we continue to receive these benefits, but also to improve the rest, address recognised challenges and respond to future threats. The LNP will make the case for such investment, and help partners target their resources where they can be the most effective and where they can achieve the biggest gains for the smallest effort.
  2. Natural value - adding value to the local economy: while a healthy environment is a pre-requisite for a healthy economy globally and locally, in Dorset it offers additional opportunities for sustainable economic growth which does not erode our natural capital. The Dorset LEP has already dubbed Dorset as ‘the natural place to do business’ for this reason, and green technology, local produce, food and drink, tourism and green energy sectors all provide significant opportunities for greater prosperity, employment and training. The LNP will work with the LEP to develop Dorset’s green economic offer, as well as helping Dorset’s businesses make more efficient use of scarce natural resources to deliver bottom line benefits.
  3. Natural health - developing Dorset’s ‘natural health service’: access to the natural environment already makes a major contribution to public health and wellbeing, and could do more so with improved access, more effective and well connected green infrastructure and better information on how and where to use the environment responsibly and safely. The LNP will work with local authorities, Health and Wellbeing Boards, the Dorset Local Access Forum and others to promote access to the natural environment as a key strand in the improvement of public health and wellbeing, the promotion of active lifestyles, independent living and as a potential means of reducing welfare costs.
  4. Natural resilience - improving environmental and community resilience: Dorset faces a challenging future. Changes in the global economy, global climate and demography present a number of potential risks and threats to the resilience of both the environment and the communities which depend on it. But a well managed, resilient natural environment can make a major contribution to our ability to adapt to these changes. We need to look at the consequences down the line of action we take today, recognising that the geographic distance and time lag which can occur between action and consequence make cross-boundary collaboration necessary. We also need to understand changes in management practice required to operate under new climatic conditions. The LNP will work with a wide range of partners to scan the horizon for these threats and opportunities, to promote mutually beneficial solutions and action to adapt which enhances natural value.
  5. Natural understanding – improving understanding of, and engagement in, Dorset’s environment: we know Dorset residents and visitors already value their environment, but improved public understanding of the environment as a system, and the benefits it offers, will be an important step in encouraging good stewardship now and in the future. The LNP will seek to define and promote the idea of ‘natural value’, identifying the financial benefits and costs associated with environmental goods and services, as well as providing honest and reliable assessments on the state of Dorset’s natural assets. The LNP will support a step change in our understanding of the environment, the quality of the environmental evidence base to inform planning and other decision-making processes, and the application of this evidence to the process of setting priorities and allocating resources.
  6. Natural influence - integrating natural value in policy and decision-making, locally and beyond: a founding principle of all LNPs is that they will embed the value of the natural environment in decision-making. The LNP will seek to influence the decision-making process locally and beyond to ensure that it takes better account of the costs, consequences, benefits and opportunities associated with natural assets and environmental change. Dorset has a national and international reputation for leadership in areas such as coastal management and biodiversity mitigation, and we will leverage this to ensure Dorset’s interests are reflected in national policy and that resources are attracted to Dorset to increase our capacity to deliver. In doing so, the LNP will promote creative approaches to overcoming traditional conflicts between economic and environmental objectives.

In autumn 2014 the Dorset LNP published Natural Value: the State of Dorset’s Environment which sets the scene for these six priorities.