The Building Conservation Directory 2024

108 THE BUILDING CONSERVATION DIRECTORY 2024 CATHEDRAL COMMUNICATIONS INTERPLAY OF NATURE AND CULTURE Whether historic or wildlife advisers, we all need to better understand this interplay of nature and culture and appreciate the scope for enhancing both natural and historic environment interests. Historic England, the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Natural England have signed a joint statement committing to this integrated approach. To conclude, the historic environment and its many heritage assets has a vital role in climate change adaptation and nature conservation. Historic environment advisers need to be proactive and engage in using GI and nature recovery in the conservation and management of sites and places. Further reading Hazel Conway and Paul Rabbitts, People’s Parks, John Hudson Publishing, 2023 Integrating the Management of the Natural and Historic Environment, Historic England, National Lottery Heritage Fund and Natural England, 2023: Introduction to the Green Infrastructure Framework – Principles and Standards for England, Natural England, 2023: Beating the Heat: A Sustainable Cooling Handbook for Cities, United Nations Environment Programme, 2021: JENIFER WHITE MBE retired as Historic England’s Principal National Landscape Advisor in July 2023. She was awarded the MBE for services to heritage and historic parks and gardens. First established in 1858, Broadway Cemetery, Peterborough was designated a county wildlife site in 1990. (Photo: Peter Wakely, Natural England) Retrofitting GI can also help the climate adaptation of buildings and their settings, with street trees providing shading and verges and cultivated gardens helping to reduce water run-off. Permeable car parking surfaces can reduce local flooding risks and also helps reduce the risk of soil shrinkage. The RHS offers advice for homeowners on its website. If well-planned and executed, new GI can be used to restore the character of streets. Traditional features, like roadside garden hedges, trap pollutants as well as provide privacy. WILDLIFE AND BIODIVERSITY Intertwined with GI are wildlife considerations and the enhancement of biodiversity. It is important to stress that nature recovery is a top priority for the UK, which has lost almost half of its biodiversity since the 1970s. Biodiversity net gain (BNG) has been introduced to create and improve habitats for wildlife. By law, all development in England now has to have a measurable positive benefit for wildlife. Land managers, local authorities and heritage advisers need to be conversant with BNG requirements and how it works in practice. Heritage assets may be affected not only by onsite and offsite BNG, but also by banking of land for future BNG use. There may also be opportunities to use BNG to restore historic landscapes. The management of many historic environment features (buildings and monuments as well as landscaping) has the potential to benefit wildlife too; many are already important habitats. For example, cemeteries are often designated as local sites of nature conservation importance. Planted with attractive and interesting mixes of trees and shrubs from around the world, as well as native species, parks and other ornamental green spaces are biodiverse landscapes and arboriculturists are investigating how these historic tree introductions might inform tree choices for proofing against the changing climate. In many sites, there will be scope to adjust management to further benefit wildlife without undermining historic interest. For example, at Marble Hill in Twickenham, English Heritage has created meadow areas around the perimeter of the early 18th-century landscaped park to enhance the site’s biodiversity.