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Last edited 08 Jul 2021
Nature improvement area
Nature Improvement Areas (NIA, Previously known as Ecological Restoration
Zones) are areas of land that have been identified for the opportunity they offer to restore nature at a landscape scale in conjunction with other land uses. They were established in 2012 after the publication of the Natural Environment White Paper, with the intention of creating ecological networks that help improve the health of the natural environment, reduce flood risk, support food production and increase accessibility to nature.
They are defined by the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) as 'Inter-connected networks of wildlife habitats intended to re-establish thriving wildlife populations and help species respond to the challenges of climate change.'
Following publication of the Natural Environment White Paper, the government launched a competition to identify 12 potential Nature Improvement Areas and provide £7.5 million in funding. A panel assessed the entrants and in February 2012, the 12 areas were announced:
- Birmingham and the Black Country.
- Dearne Valley.
- Humberland Levels.
- Marlborough Downs.
- Meres and Mosses of the Marches.
- Morecambe Bay Limestones and Wetlands.
- Nene Valley.
- Northern Devon.
- South Downs Way Ahead.
- The Dark Peak.
- The Greater Thames Marshes.
- Wild Purbeck.
The areas are funded by the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and Natural England and are run by partnerships of local authorities, landowners, local communities, the private sector and conservation organisations.
 Monitoring and progress
- Ecosystem services.
- Social and economic benefits and contributions to wellbeing.
- Partnership Working.
An annual report is produced following each of the 3 years of funding:
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki.
- Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
- Biodiversity offsetting.
- Designated sites.
- Environmental net gain.
- How nature can be used to improve wellbeing.
- Making Local Nature Recovery Strategies deliver.
- National nature reserves.
- National parks.
- National Planning Policy Framework.
- National Trust.
- Natural England.
- Natural Environment White Paper.
- Planning permission.
- Protected species.
- Sustainable development toolkit.
 External references
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