Natural England ‘begs for money’ to improve nature reserves

Natural England is being accused of “begging for money” to protect wildlife, following its attempts to crowdfund improvements to national nature reserves (NNRs).

Mark Avery, co-founder of legal outfit Wild Justice, this week wrote in a blog that Natural England was “begging” for funds to help it protect the reserves, despite having a statutory duty to do so and that the Treasury should be providing the money. 

Natural England’s chair, Tony Juniper, refuted the claim, arguing that crowdfunding was “never used to carry out [its] statutory functions”. He said a decline in the regulator’s government funding meant the regulator had to look at ways to “diversify” its income, including crowdfunding. “However, this funding is never used to carry out statutory functions – it is solely used for standalone projects which go above and beyond to protect our natural world,” he said. 

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