Natural England is an independent public body whose purpose is to protect and improve England's natural environment and encourage people to enjoy and get involved in their surroundings.
Natural England has conducted site management works on a number of sites across England which has lead to new research work being undertaken. At Church Hill Quarry SSSI vegetation clearance and re-excavation lead to new PhD research into the fossil fauna and geology of the site. At Tideswell Dale re-excavation at the edge of the quarry unearthed some unusual volcanic sediments which were investigated through a MSc project. Vegetation clearance at a series of Red Crag sites in East Anglia has re-invigorated research into the Pliocene fossils and sediments found at these sites.
Natural England is a statutory consultee for planning applications that effect geological SSSIs and NNRs
Provision of good practice guidance, e.g. Geological Conservation: a guide to good practice
Natural England maintains data on SSSIs, NNRs and LNRs in England. This includes digital boundaries, location and ownership information and descriptions of their features of interest. Site boundaries and citations can be seen at Nature on the Map.
Natural England, working with GeoConservationUK and The Geology Trusts, is establishing an England-wide dataset of Local Geological Sites. Local Geological Site boundaries are being digitised to a common format, simple associated site information is being gathered and condition monitoring is being facilitated as part of this initiative.
During 2012-13 Natural England has deignated two new geological SSSIs, Ives Head (a Precambrian geology site) and Barrow Hill and Tansey Green (a Permo-Carboniferous igneous geology site). See our new notifications webpage for details
Natural England are working towards a target of having 95% of SSSIs in favourable or favourable recovering condition by December 2010. On geological sites this is being achieved through site management works such as vegetation clearance.
During 2012-13 17 geological SSSIs came into Conservation and Enhancement Scheme agreements. These agreements totalled over £70,000 and funded work to improve geological exposures through vegetation clearance amongst other things. Further details of the scheme and a case study example can be seen in Earth Heritage number 39.
Natural England plays a key role in the development of LGAPs. Natural England has undertaken and funded research into LGAP development and has published good practice advice and guidance on LGAP development. Natural England encourages the further development of new and existing LGAPs and LGAP partnerships and is often a key consultee or partner in LGAPs
Natural England advocate good practice for geological conservation through their website and publications. Geological Conservation: a guide to good practice is a publication which describes good conservation management of different site types (eg quarries, coastal sections, caves and fossil or mineral sites), providing practical advice and case studies.
Natural England has published guidance on managing collecting on mineral, fossil and other geological sites. This guidance provides information on Natural England's approach to site management and provides good practice guidance on collecting specimens. See here for guidance and case studies
Natural England supported the development of the UKGAP logo through providing funding and taking part in judging the design competition.
Through its website and a range of publications Natural England provides information on the geodiversity of England and on geological conservation.
Natural England offers a range of volunteering opportunities and currently has over 2,200 volunteers across the country, offering help on National Nature Reserves (NNRs) and Sites of Special Scientific Interest and helping with projects in regional teams.
Natural England administered a grant scheme as part of the Aggregates Levy Sustainability Fund (ALSF). This fund provided grants that supported projects to reduce the effects of aggregate extraction on local communities and the natural environment. Between 2002 and March 2011 some of the grants awarded have supported works to improve access, education and understanding and evidence gathering in relation to geodiversity at aggregates sites in England.
Natural England has helped established Geodiversity Partnership throughout England. The partnerships bring together a range of organisations, groups and individuals with an interest in geodiversity. In particular, they are providing new ways to share experience between areas, developing new ways of working and raising the profile and value of geodiversity at local levels. Using geodiversity as a common resource the partnerships are starting to establish new links across a range of organisations using geodiversity as an innovative way of working with different local communities and groups and using geodiversity to link with our surrounding environments and landscapes. See the Geodiversity Partnership pages for more information.