Fens for the Future

The Fens were once England's largest wetland. Now less than 1% of the original wetland habitat remains. The Fens for the Future vision is to see sustainable wetlands restored, recreated and reconnected across the Fens for the benefit of people, the rural economy and our natural and historic heritage.

The Fens for the Future (FftF) partnership is a group of public, private, academic and voluntary sector organisations whose broad aim is to further the partnership approach to landscape scale conservation in the Fenland district and beyond. The partnership covers the fenland area of four counties; Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Suffolk. The project is promoting the benefits the natural environment can deliver and there are good examples of partners beginning to adopt an ecosystems approach.The restoration of wetland habitat will contribute to the Lincolnshire BAP target of extending fenland areas by 1000ha by 2020.

Large scale wet fenland creation has been a key issue since the 1990s and a number of ambitious habitat restoration projects such as The Great Fen Project, the Wicken Fen Vision and the Lakenheath RSPB reserve are in progress. In our area the South Lincolnshire Fens partnership is a key contributor to the overarching initiative.

The FftF approach is to:

  • Lobby at a strategic level for recognition of the importance of fenland and the potential of the area
  • Raise awareness of, promote and encourage environmentally friendly land management practices appropriate for fenland
  • Establish a baseline and monitoring framework to record achievement towards a range of environmental, economic and social indicators
  • Undertake projects that support and build capacity for the partner organisations and sites for the benefit of the area. This will include shared learning and research

The FftF Strategic Plan, launched in 2012, was intended to identify the top priorities for biodiversity action and to assist with subsequent funding bids across the inland fens. The Plan complements existing work and provides an overarching framework that translates policy into action on the ground. A Fenland Biodiversity Audit Report was also published in 2012.

Reference documentation

FftF Partners are actively involved in projects that contribute to creating a future for the fens. These include:

  • The Fenland Flora Project aims to improving the botanical knowledge of the Fens. Formal data-gathering began in 2005 and the aim is to complete the systematic recording by the end of 2018, with publication in 2020.
  • Water Resources East works in partnership to safeguard a sustainable supply of water for the East of England, resilient to future challenges and enabling the area's communities, environment and economy to reach their full potential.
  • Good Ecological Potential for Fenland Watercourses is a working group is developing a guide on how to maximise the ecological potential of Fenland watercourses whilst taking account of watercourse functions.

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