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Cheshire Econet

Location: Cheshire, United Kingdom, http://maps.cheshire.gov.uk/econet/

Objective: planning and implementation of a regional ecological network

Problems: wider stakeholders were initially not aware or convinced of the benefits of investing in an ecological network; neighboring local authorities have not adopted the approach; large amount of time taken to deliver benefits ‘on the ground’; incurred substantial project costs

Solutions: careful three stage planning resulting in LIFE funding; social cost benefit analysis demonstrated net benefits for local population

Results: Spatially explicit ecological analysis led to the production of scientifically underpinned maps of ecological connectivity, for a limited number of focal species, which were used in the consultation, planning and decision making processes.

Critical factors of success: The three-stage, sequential development of this initiative appeared to be a key feature in its success. A small, expert group laid the foundations which were then refined with local knowledge and used as the basis for wider participation to discuss scenarios integrating local knowledge with stakeholders in participatory workshops

Key learning points: ecological modelling for EN planning; key stakeholder analysis; free farm conservation advice, refining of original maps with local knowledge. Stakeholder analysis to identify the groups that would be most influential in delivering the ecological network.

Actors: Predominently local representatives from Vale Royal Borough Council, English Nature, Cheshire County Council and Salford University. Sandstone Ridge Partnership with wide range of engagement methods

Communication: wide range of engagement methods: leaflets, website, meetings, workshops

Financing: LIFE +

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