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Last Updated: Tuesday, 4 November, 2003, 17:31 GMT
Q&A: English Nature
The independent scientific watchdog English Nature could be replaced as part of a shake-up in rural services. BBC News Online looks at the role of the organisation.

What is English Nature?

English Nature is a government funded body which promotes the conservation of England's wildlife and natural features.

When was it established?

Set up in 1991, the organisation traces its roots back over 50 years to the Nature Conservancy - the government's first nature conservation body.

What is English Nature responsible for?

The organisation manages over 4000 sites of special scientific interest and 215 national nature reserves including Sherwood Forest and large areas of Dartmoor National Park.

As the government's official wildlife watchdog, the organisation also has legal powers to protect and enhance England's natural heritage.

What are the organisation's biggest achievements?

English Nature has identified and protected 7% of land in England for its biodiversity value and brought back wildlife including dormice and natterjack toads from the brink of extinction.

It has also recently opposed government road building and housing policies, and its opposition to GM crops led to official field trials taking place.

How big is English Nature?

English Nature currently works with a budget of 73 million and employs 988 staff at 23 locations across the country.

How would English Nature be replaced?

The work of English Nature would be taken over by a new "land management" agency responsible for protecting the landscape and delivering services in local areas.




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