Prof Jeff Ollerton

Project Lead for the Nene Valley Nature Improvement Area project

The Nene Valley Nature Improvement Area (NIA) project is a three year initiative to enable economic growth and development to support, value and benefit the natural environment resulting in net gain in biodiversity by 2020.

With 25 years research experience, Professor Ollerton is a University expert on the ecology, evolution and conservation of plant-pollinator interactions.

The £750,000 project is funded by Natural England, Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) and the University of Northampton. Professor Ollerton along with the research team from the University is primarily investigating the potential to market the ecosystem services that the Nene Valley provides. The project also aims to enhance public awareness, access and benefits of the NIA in a sustainable and sympathetic way, while ensuring that the designated sites at the core remain in favourable condition. It will also improve ecological status of the river and enhance ecosystem service provision, and strengthen the ecological network through effective engagement with farmers and landowners.

The project will develop an ecosystem services design guide for planners and developers as an extension to the current Biodiversity Supplementary Planning Document. It will also establish at least one working model of an ecosystem services payment scheme for the Nene Valley NIA. These outcomes will be of benefit to local wildlife NGOs, local government, landowners, and facilities companies such as Anglian Water.

Professor Ollerton says: “The project is already being used as a case study in some of our teaching, with the potential to enhance our methodologies and pedagogy along with providing undergraduate students valuable field experience.”