LIFE Natura 2000 Programme for Wales

The 37 month LIFE Natura 2000 project for Wales (also known as LIFE N2K Programme) concluded in September 2015. Run by Natural Resource Wales (NRW) and co-funded by the LIFE programme, the project aimed to develop a strategic and prioritised forward plan for managing and restoring Wales’ Natura 2000 sites.


The programme focused on identifying pressures on the Natura 2000 sites, prioritising and costing actions to mitigate these pressures and establishing available funding sources. This information supported the development of Prioritised Improvement Plans (PIPs) for each of Wales’ Natura 2000 sites, Thematic Action Plans for the major issues affecting the sites and an overall Prioritised Action Framework to identify Welsh priorities and EU co-funding requirements.


Across the 112 Natura sites, the programme recorded almost 3600 actions to be undertaken to address their priority issues and risk with projected costs of approximately £1million per site. Direct management, investigation and NRW management agreements were commonly suggested to tackle these issues and risks, the most frequently noted of which were grazing and livestock management, invasive species and man-made changes to hydraulic conditions.


The project endeavoured to maximise stakeholder engagement throughout by hosting 38 stakeholder engagement workshops, engaging with NRW and external partners and attending over 100 outside meetings, reaching over 1800 stakeholders.


The key outputs of the LIFE N2K Programme are:

1.       Prioritised Improvement Plans (PIPs) have been produced for all Welsh Natura 2000 sites, these are prioritised, costed action plans which summarise the actions needed to help improve the condition of the designated habitat and species features of the site;

2.       Technical development of the Actions Databasewhich holds the data on which the PIPs are based;

3.       Thematic Action Plans with strategic actions for the priority issues and risks affecting the Natura 2000 series;

4.       Cross-cutting Action Plans, including Communication and Education, Integration & Funding;

5.       A set of priorities for Natura 2000;

6.       A revised Prioritised Action Frameworkfor Wales summarising Welsh Natura 2000 priorities and EU co-funding requirements;

7.       Thirteen reports including Funding of Natura 2000 and an Inventory of Ecosystem Services; and

8.       Short films to share the value of Wales’ Natura 2000 network with the public, decision-makers, and those in other sectors.


The AfterLIFE plan, which ensures the sustainability of the project is currently being finalised. It will describe how relevant organisations will deliver the actions described by the N2K Programme via existing work programmes or through the development of new funding streams.