Wiltshire and Swindon successfully secured £20,000 of capacity funding from DEFRA’s Local Nature Partnership Capacity Fund in 2011. This was used to support a full time LNP Development Officer to coordinate the initial development of the LNP from January until June 2012. During this period a process of wider consultation was carried out to help define the purpose and role of the LNP and encourage local partner buy in and support.
To ensure the LNP fully engaged with a wide range of stakeholders two workshops were arranged. The first consultation workshop was arranged in February 2012, the Agenda-1st Workshop, Delegate List-1st Workshop and Feedback-1st Workshop from this event can be found be following these highlighted links. A second follow up workshop was also held in March 2012 and you can also find the Agenda-2nd Workshop, Delegate List-2nd Workshop and Feedback-2nd Workshop from this event for your information.
On 2nd April 2012, the Environment Minister Richard Benyon opened the application process for LNPs to gain Government recognition. An application was submitted on behalf of the Wiltshire & Swindon LNP, a copy of the application can be found by clicking on the following link: Wiltshire&SwindonLNPDefraApplication. On 28th September 2012 the Wiltshire & Swindon LNP was formally recognised by the Secretary of State for Environment and Rural Affairs as a LNP, one of 48 nationally.
DEFRA coordinates the national network of LNPs providing support and guidance to the 48 newly emerging partnerships across the country.
As a result of successfully gaining national recognition a LNP Coordinator was employed in July 2012 resourced by Wiltshire Council, Swindon Borough Council and Wiltshire Wildlife Trust.
On the 18th September 2012 a Board was nominated by members of the wider partnership to help provide strategic direction for the newly forming LNP in Wiltshire and Swindon. The Board represents many of the different sectors who have a link to the local environment; senior level representatives populate the Board from the Conservation, Public, Private, Health, Voluntary, Youth, Military, Energy, Community and Business sectors. For more information regarding the Board please go to the How do we function page.
The Link 2 Nature brand has been created and supported by the Board to provide the LNP in Wiltshire and Swindon with a strong and memorable identity.
Since the launch of Link2Nature in early 2013, the partnership has been consulting with partners to develop an Environmental Investment Prospectus and also to progress the identification of potential Nature Improvement Areas within the county. Since August the LNP has also been working with the Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership to support the development of the European Strategic Investment Fund Strategy for the area. All these activities are currently work in progress and further information will be posted as milestones are reached.