Local communities urged to help shape the natural world around them

The government has today opened a consultation on plans for new Local Nature Recovery Strategies (LNRS) across England as part of the Environment Bill.

LNRS’ aim to help drive up the recovery of England’s landscapes and wildlife locally by creating a new tool for local areas to agree priorities and map proposals for nature’s recovery, ensuring more value is placed on nature.

These strategies will help local communities work together to help identify where they should take action for nature’s recovery as part of building the national Nature Recovery Network (NRN), the government said.

As well as this, the strategy will look at where nature-based solutions could make a difference to help address wider environmental issues, such as mitigating flood risk and planting trees or restoring peatland for carbon sequestration to mitigate climate change.

The consultation launch follows successful LNRS pilots in Buckinghamshire, Cornwall, Cumbria, Greater Manchester and Northumberland, which showed how local groups can work collaboratively together to produce their strategies.

Managed by Natural England in conjunction with the local partner organisations, the pilots have informed the policy development and next steps.

Commenting, Environment Minister, Rebecca Pow said:

“These Local Nature Recovery Strategies will be a key part of our green recovery and help kick-start the creation of over a million acres of joined up habitats which people can enjoy across the country.

“I urge local authorities and public bodies alike to take part in our consultation and provide views.

“Once rolled out nationally, Local Nature Recovery Strategies will underpin the Nature Recovery Network, a flagship element of our 25 Year Environment Plan and a key mechanism for knitting these precious habitats together.”

Natural England Chair, Tony Juniper added:

“Restoring our natural world after years of decline will bring a wealth of benefits to people, our environment and our economy.

“We’re pleased to support today’s consultation opening, which will allow our partners to feed into how the Local Nature Recovery Strategies will run.

“Natural England has played a key role in developing the Local Nature Recovery Strategies, including running the pilots, which used an evidence-based, locally led, collaborative approach.

“We look forward to the results of the consultation and then supporting rolling Local Nature Recovery Strategies out across England to help create a national Nature Recovery Network that allows nature to thrive for the benefit of people and wildlife.”

The area covered by each strategy will vary and be decided on a case-by-case basis by the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

This will be in discussion with the prospective responsible authority or organisation who will lead the development of the strategy for that area.

The Nature Recovery Network plans to create or restore 500,000 hectares of wildlife habitat outside protected sites and help species thrive, more effectively linking existing protected sites and landscapes.

This includes urban green infrastructure, such as trees, hedgerows, parks, fields, forests and urban blue infrastructure, such as rainwater tanks, bioswales, rivers, canals, ponds, wetlands and floodplains respectively.

The consultation closes on 2 November 2021.

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