It is interesting to note the recent moves by UK Government to put a price on nature. In February this year, Caroline Spelman, the UK Environment Secretary, said all countries should measure ‘natural capital’ (the state of natural resources) as well as finances.
The UK Government is setting up a Natural Capital Committee reporting to the Treasury that will work out our own wealth in terms of air quality, fresh water, wildlife and other natural resources. The intention is to introduce “green accounting” that will audit the state of a nation’s rivers, forests and other landscapes as well as just GDP.
The National Park Authority will be introducing five new local information points in the New Forest, Hampshire. The points will provide a one-stop shop for residents and visitors who are interested in learning more about the National Park and what to see and do in the local area. They will offer information and maps, leaflets and publications.
Wildlife tourism is reporting healthy business and nature shows such as BBCâ€™s Springwatch are thought to have played a part in raising interest in the outdoors, according to Wild Scotland. Most of the members of Wild Scotland have had a good year.Â Â There are 82 businesses which are now members of Wild Scotland, which was set up in 2004 to promote the industry and ensure good practice. The group had a total turnover of Â£9.3m in 2008.Â 83% of the members had as good a year as last year or a better year than last year.
Winnal Moors Nature Reserve, Winchester, has reopened following a Â£1.3m redevelopment. Work on the site includes resurfacing of all paths and boardwalks to offer easier access for all visitors, signs and benches. A large amount of the project has relied upon volunteers.
A new report by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has stated that more needs to be done to manage and monitor the progress of â€˜recoveringâ€™ SSSIs across England. PAC believes that Natural England and DEFRA need to establish a detailed plan to ensure that all SSSIs are moved into a favourable condition.
The PAC report also claimed out-of-date information and incomplete records have been used and a quarter of all sites going unchecked for a 6 year period to June 2008.
However, DEFRA and Natural England are on track to meet targets established in 2000 to bring 95% of all SSSIs into a â€˜favourableâ€™ or â€˜recoveringâ€™ position by December 2010.
A new native woodland is to be created in Essex, after the Woodland Trust announced that it has acquired 42 hectares of land at Elmstead Market, Colchester.Â Â 32,000 trees are now to be planted, which will contribute to Essex County Councilâ€™s â€˜Essex Worksâ€™ pledge to plant 250,000 trees across the county by the end of March.
Natural England has revealed that more than Â£1.7m has been awarded to projects, by the Access to Nature grant scheme, since autumn 2007, in an attempt to improve access to the natural environment.Â It aims to target people who face social exclusion or who currently have little or no contact with the English Countryside.Â Five projects have received the share of the Â£1.7m already awarded, including the Campaign for National Parks, a project led by the Woodland Trust in Warrington and Runcorn, a scheme run by the Community Service Volunteers in Birmingham, Wild About Plants and Geltsdale Community Outreach Project.
Proposals for a new Â£10.5m visitor centre at Sherwood Forest have been put forward by Nottingham County Council.
Although the plans are still subject to approval it is expected that the new visitor centre will be ready to open in 2010.
The forestâ€™s existing 32 year old visitor centre currently attracts 400,000 visitors each year, but needs to be relocated following an agreement in 2002 which named Sherwood Forest as a National Nature Reserve.
The new visitor centre is planned to be split into five zones.Â The centreâ€™s main attraction will be a visitor experience consisting of a 360Â° film presentation about the forests history.Â Land for the new centre has already been acquired and it is hoped that the centre will increase visitor numbers by 25%, generating Â£7.5m for the local economy.
We understand that a sustainable tourism development plan, costing at least Â£1.5 billion, has been put forward in Libya to preserve the countryâ€™s rich archeological heritage and create a leading environmental destination.
The ethos is on sustainable development and the Green Mountain Sustainable Development Area could incorporate a national park and eco-hotels.Â The development will also help to open up the rich archeological heritage to tourists. UNESCO and the UN Environment Programme are partners in the project.
Richard Linington, one of our directors, was invited on the ‘Green Train’, Eurostar’s first train to travel from St Pancras International to Paris. Richard has written about this on his blog Carbon Neutral Tourism.
Gulliver’s Eco Park has recently opened near Milton Keynes in the UK – the new visitor experience is located next to Gulliver’s Land. One of the attraction’s objectives is to help visitors understand issues such as the environment (including recyling and sustainability).Â Find out more at Gulliver’s Eco Park.
A cruise liner, the MS Nordkapp hit rocks near Deception Island off the Antartic Penisular, a popular stopping off point for cruise liners in the Antartic.Â Â HMS Endurance has gone to the assistance of the MS Nordkapp.
The bulbs which are used in Blackpool’s illuminations are to be replaced with LED (light emitting diodes) this will cut the electricity used by some 80% and also helps to reduce carbon emissions. Whilst the LEDs are considerably expensive they cost less to use and last for up to 100,000 hours (compared to 20,000 hours for a traditional bulb).