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Parish Environmental Action Plans

by the Countryside Management Service

Gobions Woodland
A PEAP publicity tent at the Brickendon fete
Image courtesy of the
Countryside Management Service
What is a PEAP?
  • A unique opportunity for a community to identify natural places in their local area that are important to them
  • A way of integrating and co-ordinating ALL environmental activity in a parish to result in a LONG TERM ACTION PLAN
  • A way of supporting local action needed to conserve the local environment, raise awareness and put that plan into action.
How is it done? The Process:
  • Taking stock
  • Consultation
  • Making it happen
  • Continuing efforts.
Taking stock

Taking stock will involve gathering together environmental information about the area. This may include:

  • Important wildlife habitats
  • Sites with protected or rare species
  • Archaeological sites and finds
  • Local public rights of way
  • Popular natural areas and open spaces
  • Ancient woodlands
  • Rivers and tributaries
  • Historic parkland
  • Local landscape character
  • And more...
This information can be pulled together from a variety of sources.

Contributors to an Audit might include: the parish council and local residents, local farmers and landowners, local environmental organisations, the local authority, the district council, the water authority, local conservation groups, ramblers associations, history societies etc.


Consultation with local people is vital to ensure that all the relevant information has been included and all recommended actions are what the local community want.

Local people will be given the opportunity to be involved in the PEAP at all stages. Consultation could be achieved by the following means:

  • A steering group of interested residents
  • A ‘planning for real’ event
  • A public meeting or guided walk / tour of the parish
  • Displays at local venues, information at village fetes, open days
  • Asking a local farmer to lead a walk around their farm
  • A household survey or questionnaire
  • Articles in the local parish/church magazine, in a newspaper or online.
Through consultation local people will be able to have their say and prioritise environmental action in their parish.

Consultation will result in a long term action plan with an integrated work programme to bring all environmental enhancement projects together.

An action plan

An action plan might include some of the following:

  • Restoration of a village pond
  • Management of a local woodland for wildlife
  • Survey of wildlife in the parish
  • Joining the Parish Paths Partnership
  • Production of walks leaflets
  • Development of a map of archaeological features
  • Habitat restoration on the common
  • Planting a community orchard
  • A community event e.g. a themed walk (history, geology)
  • A celebration of the local environment through drama
  • An exhibition of artwork relating to the local environment.
Making it happen

Local action is the most important part of the PEAP and involves planning and carrying out environmental projects that will enhance and conserve the natural heritage of the parish.

Making it happen isn’t just about digging holes and getting dirty. There is the opportunity to learn and use skills in:

  • Project planning
  • Securing funding
  • Consultation with project partners
  • Getting specialist advice
  • Managing contracts
  • Practical action involving local volunteers.
Continuing efforts

Monitoring will ensure that the action plan remains up to date and relevant. This could be achieved through:

  • Working group meetings
  • Parish council meetings
  • Activity logs
  • Progress reporting
  • Successful community projects
  • Annual reviews
  • Community feedback.
Local committment

A successful PEAP will require the following from the community:

  • Commitment from a community group or parish council
  • A local steering group that meets regularly
  • Residents to input information about the area and community
  • A public event to raise awareness and prioritise action
  • Local volunteers to make it happen.
CMS support

Your local Countryside Management Service (CMS) projects officer will be able to:

  • Guide the community through the PEAP process
  • Assist in gathering environmental information
  • Help pull together and co-ordinate the steering group
  • Assist farmers and landowners with grant aid applications
  • Be available for advice and support
  • Support a public event
  • Guide local action and support practical enhancement projects
  • Identify funding sources and assist in the application process
  • Put groups in touch with contractors or specialists.
There are numerous sources of support for environmental projects.

Amongst these are:

  • Local Heritage Initiative
  • Landfill Tax Credit Scheme
  • Parish Paths Partnership
  • Local Authority and District Council grants for environmental improvements
  • Support from local business.
Appropriate packages of funding, grant aid and other help will be developed from the programme of work identified in the PEAP.

What next?

For further details of starting a Parish Environmental Action Plan where you live contact:

Countryside Management Service
Eastern Area
Little Samuels Farm
Widford Road
Herts SG12 8NN
Tel: 01279 843067
Fax: 01279 843068

June 2003

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