Unlike many organisations, Clinton Devon Estates work is inter-generational, rather than in five-year funding cycles, and we are firmly committed to supporting wildlife and habitats.
We can demonstrate across all areas of our business that we do this, and we monitor our performance in this area through bird, dormouse and pollinator surveys, and habitat creation for example. For this reason, we are recognised as being a national leader in conservation.
We recently published our Space for Nature Wildlife Prospectus, one of the first of its kind in the country for a land-owning organisation. This outlines our strategy for enhancing wildlife. 14% of our land area is managed directly for conservation outcomes across a range of statutory and non-statutory designations. 17% is under woodland (compared to the very low national and Devon average); we are stewards of one of East Devon’s most precious conservation sites (The East Devon Pebblebed Heaths); we measure our performance not just by income but by environmental indicators; we partner with the RSPB and Devon Wildlife Trust (DWT) on a range of projects from rare farmland birds to bats to freshwater pearl mussels; we are one of the few organisations nationally trialling better ways of planning wildlife into the landscapes (supported by Defra); we are progressing an ambitious scheme with the Environment Agency to create a new wetland reserve of national significance on the Lower River Otter which will potentially be one of the biggest conservation projects in the South West; along with the DWT we were amongst the first organisations in England to support beaver trials, perhaps one of the most exciting wildlife initiatives to appear in the British Isles recent decades.
Not all of our land management decisions will please everyone all the time but we endeavour every day to get the balance right in supporting the many, and often conflicting, needs of society whether it is energy, housing, access, timber, food whilst ensuring that wildlife is always high on our agenda and not simply a footnote.