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The Importance of the environment

The environment we live in affects all aspects of human life. It provides the raw materials for economic activities in an area, influences how we choose to develop our towns and cities and can be harnessed to improve the health of the population.

Over recent times it has become increasingly evident that the complex interaction between people and the environment is an area of urgent concern. Issues such as climate change (The Stern Review, 2006), how to protect natural habitats (Making Space for Nature, Lawton, 2010) and how to take into account the services provided by the natural environment so as to ensure that our activities are sustainable (UK National Ecosystems Assessment, Watson and Albon, 2011) are all a matter of national and international debate and increasingly impact on the way we live and the decisions we make.

In Lincolnshire the importance of the environment to the economy can particularly be seen in the agrifood sector and the visitor economy as well as in the growing importance of the renewable energy industry.

Understanding the Environment

When looking at information about the environment it is often split into the built and the natural environment. However, by its nature, the environment pervades all aspects of life. Information about the environment can be thought of as being about:

  • What is there? This covers the natural physical environment and the built environment as well as areas designated as nature reserves or protected sites. Information about what is present is usually shown using maps.
  • What state it is in? This covers information about levels of pollution, the state of Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs), and the condition of housing stock. It is often best looked at over a period of time to see how things are changing.
  • What we are doing to influence the environment? This covers information concerning the level of emissions of pollution, the amount of waste produced and recycled, change of land use, and mineral extraction. Understanding the human influence on the environment is helped by an understanding of the population and its distribution as this will influence levels of consumption, travel patterns and land use.

Sources of information on the Environment

The LRO has brought together a number of environmental indicators at the bottom this page, which are also available on an interactive map.

Natural Environment

Natural England have a useful mapping tool, Magic Map which shows a number of environmental features which can be added to a map, including:

  • Land-Based Designations
  • Habitats and Species
  • Agri-Environment Schemes
  • Forestry and Woodland Schemes
  • Landscape Classifications

Further local information can be found in the Green Infrastructure Plans/Studies for Central Lincolnshire and the Wash Fens Area which look at environmental assets in their areas.

The Wash and Fens Green Infrastructure Plan

For more information on green infrastructure visit the Green infrastructure section of the Natural England website

Ecosystems Services and Biodiversity

In 2012 the government published Biodiversity 2020: A strategy for England's wildlife and ecosystem services together with a set of supporting Indicators.

The Greater Lincolnshire Nature Partnership is a government accredited body which helps local organisations achieve more for nature. It also aims to ensure that the value of the natural environment and the services it provides to the local economy is taken into account in local decisions, for example about planning and development.

The website provides details of how this is being achieved in Lincolnshire including the local action proposed to protect species and habitats as set out
in the Lincolnshire Nature Strategy (Lincolnshire Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP - 3rd edition).

More detailed information on the distribution of individual species can be obtained from The Lincolnshire Environmental Records Centre (part of the Greater Lincolnshire Nature Partnership).


Information on the designation of land for nature conservation and its implications for management and planning can be found on the Natural England website.

In Lincolnshire we have land designated as Area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), National Nature Reserves (NNR), Local Nature Reserves (LNR) and Sites Of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) among others and you can see these areas mapped by using the Magic Map tool.

Climate Change and Energy Use

For information on Climate Change including levels of energy us and emission estimates visit the Department for Energy and Climate Change website. Also for local intelligence see the documents

Climate Change and Greater Lincolnshire - A review of policy, baselines, current practice and opportunities

Renewable and Low Carbon Energy Study for Central Lincolnshire.

Household Waste and Recycling

Information on rates of local waste and recycling are from the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs. More detailed local information can be found in the Lincolnshire Annual Monitoring Report.

The LRO has more information on Housing, Accessibility, and Population - all of which is vital to understanding the environment and how we interact with it.

Area Profiles