Cumbria County Council has been commended for its hard work and dedication to pilot and produce prototype Local Nature Recovery Strategies (LNRS) as part of government plans to recover nature on an England-wide scale.
In a letter to the council, Environment Minister, Rebecca Pow, congratulated the Cumbria LNRS pilot team on the work undertaken to date, commenting that:
“The work that you have done on the pilot has shown real leadership and excellent collaboration with stakeholders.
“This work will be essential in helping us to inform how we deliver on our commitments to nature recovery across England through the strategies.
“Local Nature Recovery Strategies will also be an essential tool in helping to deliver the Nature Recovery Network, to agree, prioritise and map opportunities for nature recovery.
“The pilots have been an extremely valuable learning exercise for Defra.
“They will directly inform the development of policy on Local Nature Recovery Strategies, including any future regulations and statutory guidance following Royal Assent of the Environment Bill.
“The pilots will also help inform the approach to national rollout, which I hope we can commence as soon as practicable once the legal framework has been put in place.”
Cumbria was named as one of five pilot areas to receive a share of a £1m fund from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) in August 2020 to develop a draft LNRS pilot.
The LNRS has brought a broad range of groups together, from farmers to businesses to local communities, to deliver priorities for nature recovery at a local and national level and the pilots will help kick-start the creation of over a million acres of habitats for wildlife.
Defra are now reviewing all five of the pilot LNRS projects in Buckinghamshire, Cornwall, Cumbria, Greater Manchester and Northumberland respectively.
Natural England are producing an evaluation report to help inform the final legislation and guidance to support the national rollout of LNRSs when the Environment Bill gets Royal Assent.
It is anticipated that national rollout of the LNRSs will be from April 2022.
Commenting, Cumbria County Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment, Councillor Celia Tibble said:
“I am delighted that the hard work of the council has been recognised and that our pilot is being held up nationally as an exemplar.
“It is fantastic to see Cumbria leading the way and that the excellent work undertaken will play such a crucial role in helping to shape the strategies of other local authorities.
“Huge well done to all involved in the success of this project.”
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