As part of the Natural England funded Nature Recovery Network project PAS has started to pull together a mini library of good examples where local authorities are delivering nature recovery activities. Last updated 21st November 2022.
Listed below are some good examples where local authorities are delivering nature recovery activities that we think you will be interested in. These cover a range of themes including:
- Mapping and data
- Policy and strategy
Feedback is welcomed on this page and were interested in featuring other work that is being delivered so please get in touch by email [email protected].
Mapping and data
As part of the Cumbria Local Nature Recovery Strategy - Pilot Scheme, Cumbria Local Nature Partnership (CLNP) and Cumbria Biodiversity Data Centre (CBDC) worked on behalf of Cumbria County Council to develop the Cumbria habitat basemap and Local Nature Recovery Networks (LNRN). CBDC mapped the LNRN according to a mapping approach that was discussed and agreed by CLNP and the Project data and mapping groups. PAS thinks this is helpful as it provides an overview of how the Cumbria Local Nature Recovery Habitat Networks mapping has been developed and what it looks like.
The first iteration of the Devon Nature Recovery Network (NRN) was launched in January 2022 on the Devon Environment viewer to strategically drive conservation efforts. Devon Biodiversity Records Centre has led in the technical development of the NRN, having collated and produced the Habitat suitability mapping and Core Nature Areas/Nature areas datasets. PAS thinks this is helpful as it provides an overview of how the Devon Nature Recovery Network Map has been developed and what it looks like.
Tees Valley Nature Partnership has been working with Tees Valley Combined Authority and Natural England on a natural capital account for Tees Valley which has now been published. The report explores the extent to which it is possible to develop an approach that can be replicated across other areas and how local planning can be informed by natural capital accounts and Natural Capital Atlases. PAS thinks this is helpful as it provides a great starting point to build up a comprehensive natural capital evidence base to support decision-making.
Policy G9 Biodiversity Improvements (Page 122) requires that development achieves an overall net gain for biodiversity commensurate with the scale of the development, including a positive contribution to the habitat network through habitat protection, creation and enhancement. Further information for developers is set out in Leeds' biodiversity guidance for developers - see the Development Management examples for details.
The West of England Nature Partnership has mapped a regional Nature Recovery Network for the West of England, aligning with shared principles developed across the South West (by the South West Local Nature Partnerships) to ensure coherence and strengthened networks across the wider region. It is being used by Local Authorities in the area and other organisations to prioritise work to restore nature and to inform planning. PAS thinks this is useful as it provides an overview of how the West of England Nature Recovery Network Map has been developed and what it looks like.
Policy and strategy
In August 2020, Defra launched 5 Local Nature Recovery Strategy (LNRS) pilots to test the preparation process, produce prototype strategies and look at how LNRSs can align with other environmental strategies at a local level. The pilots concluded in May 2021 and this report summarises the key lessons and findings. PAS thinks this is useful as it focusses on the preparation of LNRSs, resources and capacity, data and evidence, collaboration and use of the LNRSs in practice.
As part of the PAS Heads of Planning Conference in September 2022 we heard from Bolsover District Council on their approach to planning for a better environment. This includes the development of a network of Wildlife Corridors and Stepping Stones included in the Local Plan; a district-level local nature recovery strategy and action plan, securing funding from the Woodland Trust for the Bolsover Community Woodlands; and issuing a call for sites for habitat creation and environmental restoration. PAS thinks this is useful as it shows the Council’s approach for prioritising and bringing forward nature recovery sites as part of their Local Plan delivery.
Cornwall Council declared a climate emergency in 2019 and has produced a Climate Emergency DPD which adds detail to the Cornwall Local Plan (2016) setting out policies to protect and enhance natural capital including biodiversity net gain and the Local Nature Recovery Network. The DPD was submitted for independent examination in November 2021. PAS thinks this is useful as it includes recent policies on the implementation of the Local Nature Recovery Network.
In 2021 the Joint Administration committed to putting climate change and biodiversity at the heart of the Council’s work, and in line with this commitment, the Climate Change and Environment Strategy 2022 was published which describes how they will deliver on their commitments and respond to the climate impact challenges. PAS thinks this will be useful to councils looking to deliver on their climate change and biodiversity commitments. PAS thinks this is useful as it sets out the priority areas to achieve their targets including new economic models, restoring natural habitats and beneficial land management.
Doncaster Borough’s Local Plan was adopted in September 2021 and includes specific policies on Green Infrastructure (Policy 26) and Ecological Networks (Policy 29), Valuing Biodiversity and Geodiversity (Policy 30) as well as Planning Policy Background Documents on Green Infrastructure and the Natural Environment. A Supplementary Planning Document sets out how applications can satisfy the requirement to demonstrate Biodiversity Net Gain. PAS thinks this is useful as it includes a range of adopted local plan policies covering the natural environment.
In July 2019 North Devon Council (NDC) declared a ‘Climate Emergency’ which committed a target to reach net carbon neutrality by 2030. The Carbon, Environment and Biodiversity Plan June 2022 sets out the Council’s road map to carbon neutrality recognising the need to integrate climate change and sustainability into the heart of their governance and processes. PAS thinks this is useful as it shows how the Council are supporting delivery on their climate change and biodiversity commitments.
South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Councils have come together to work on a new Joint Local Plan. As part of their Issues consultation they have launched an innovative new interactive website, with interactive maps, a video and images with nature recovery and landscape included as key themes. PAS thinks this is useful as it shows different methods of engagement on local plan preparation and the natural environment.
PAS has collated some good examples of locally-specific policies on BNG in current local plans, Supplementary Planning Documents and other planning policy guidance documents, as well as some links to evidence for developing BNG policy in Local Plans which you can access by clicking on this link.
The aim of the Cambridge Nature Network is to develop a network of resilient wildlife rich accessible habitats in and around the City of Cambridge covering 9,200 ha. This is in response to the biodiversity crisis and a local commitment to ‘doubling nature’ in the area, in the face of significant growth pressures in the city and surrounding area, which is planned to continue. Partners include RSPB; Cambridge City Council; Natural Cambridgeshire Magog Down; National Trust and the Wildlife Trust for Beds Cambs and Northants. PAS thinks this is useful as it provides an example of a new way of working collaboratively across organisations and with landowners to contribute towards nature’s recovery.
There is a strong track record of working in partnership across County Durham and the County Durham Partnership (CDP) is made up of key public, private and voluntary sector organisations that work together to drive a common purpose and ambition for the county and improve the quality of life for its people. The Environment and Climate Change Partnership has three strategic objectives addressing the climate change and ecological emergency challenges as well as place, health and community. PAS thinks this is useful as it shows how the Partnership are supporting delivery on their strategic priorities including the climate change and ecological emergencies.
The Essex Local Nature Partnership was set up in 2021 to strengthen the impact of local action for nature recovery. The 14-strong board includes representatives from agriculture, development, local government, conservation organisations, community groups, health organisations and youth groups, with the county council providing initial administrative support. PAS thinks this is useful as it provides an overview of the structure and whose involved the newly created Local Nature Partnership.
An important aspect of Local Nature Recovery Strategies is the strong focus on stakeholder engagement – going beyond ‘the usual suspects’ that have been engaged in conservation plans and strategies in the past. This diagram illustrates the breadth of stakeholders who will need to be involved. In recent years the Oxfordshire Local Nature Partnership was set up and this link explains how this was done. PAS thinks this is useful as it includes information on key stakeholders that need to be involved in the preparation of the Local Nature Recovery Strategy as well as how the Local Nature Partnership was set up.
Extending across 10,000 hectares on the fringes of the West Midlands conurbation, Purple Horizons is restoring and connecting fragmented nationally and internationally important heathlands to create a mosaic of heathland-wetland-woodland-grassland, vital for the recovery and long-term resilience of the area’s reptiles, birds and pollinators. Partners include Walsall Council; Lichfield District Council; Black Country Global Geopark; 3keel; University of Birmingham; Staffordshire Wildlife Trust and Birmingham and Black Country Wildlife Trust.
The Wendling Beck Environment Project (WBEP) is a pioneering habitat creation, nature restoration and regenerative farming project, spanning almost 2,000 acres of land North of the market town of Dereham in Norfolk, UK. The project is a collaboration between private landowners, local authorities, environmental NGOs, and Anglian Water. It aims to transform land use for environmental benefit, whilst also building community and environmental resilience. PAS thinks this is useful as it provides an example of pioneering nature-based solutions at a landscape-scale.
The Green Infrastructure Team at Essex County Council was formed in April 2021 in response to the Essex Climate Action Commission’s recommendations on green infrastructure and land use. Three of its roles have been funded as part of the Essex Climate Action Commissions budget for tackling climate change. More information on what the team are doing on protecting the environment is available here. PAS thinks that the Essex Climate Action Commission: Land Use & Green Infrastructure Annex is useful as it includes an overview of the potential funding for the land use & green infrastructure climate action programmes.
All Gloucestershire's Local Authorities have declared a climate emergency. A key part of getting to net zero will be better land management, and specifically carbon sequestration through tree planting and woodland creation. In response and working in partnership with Gfirst LEP, the Gloucestershire Local Nature Partnership are establishing the Gloucestershire Nature and Climate Fund (GNCF). PAS thinks is useful as it includes details of an innovative fund being set up to support landowners, developers and local planning authorities through the biodiversity net gain process.
The Greater Manchester Natural Capital Investment Plan published in January 2019 aims to broaden the range of potential sources in natural capital, increasing their accessibility to attract potential investors. This has led to the GMCA pioneering a new approach, the Greater Manchester Environment Fund (GMEF), formed by a partnership between GMCA, Lancashire Wildlife Trust and Finance Earth. PAS thinks this is useful as it identifies a range of innovative finance models including habitat banking and carbon trading.
Stroud District Council is committed to responding proactively to the climate and ecological emergency and the Council Plan has key objectives to protect and enhance biodiversity and become a carbon neutral district by 2030. They have recently recruited a Strategic Lead for Nature Recovery and Biodiversity working across all Council service areas and with external partners to maximise opportunities for biodiversity net gain and nature recovery. PAS thinks this is useful as it shows how the Council has appointed a new role working across the council to support delivery of its climate and ecological emergency commitments.
The Warwickshire, Coventry and Solihull sub-region was chosen as one of the 2012-2014 six national pilot areas to trial biodiversity offsetting. Following the success of this pilot all the local planning authorities within the sub-region agreed to continue with offsetting on all minor and major applications. Biodiversity offsetting is an important part in the delivery of the sub-regional green infrastructure strategy and is an evidence document for all Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire core strategies. PAS thinks this is useful as it shows how the Council is supporting the delivery of biodiversity offsetting.
The West of England Combined Authority has made available a £50m Green Recovery Fund to tackle the climate and ecological emergencies, of which at least £10m is set aside for nature recovery. The first round of funding has helped fund the creation of a new, 50 hectare woodland, provided £1 million of funding for community pollinator projects, and funded three more strategic projects in the region’. PAS thinks this is useful as it shows how the fund is helping to bring forward a number of nature recovery projects.
Naturally Birmingham is a cross working project with people’s views and values at it’s heart – testing new approaches to caring for the city’s green spaces. The first phase of the Naturally Birmingham project came to a close at the end of June 2022 and a follow on project to complete the City of Nature development called the Urban Nature Development Project work runs until December 2023. Find out more here. PAS thinks this is helpful as it shows how the Council are bringing forward a number of nature recovery activities to make Birmingham a City of Nature.
Hampshire County Council are delivering a range of projects and plans that put nature recovery at the heart of the service’s mission to preserve Hampshire’s countryside. These are set out in more detail here and include: Investing £0.5m into tree planting; Working with farm clusters and landscape partnerships; Delivering pollinator projects to schools and parish councils; Committing funding towards the alleviation of Ash dieback in the county. PAS thinks this is helpful is it shows how a number of nature recovery projects are being delivered at a local level working with local communities.
Islington Council has a vision, called Parks for Health, for parks and green spaces in the 21st century. Created with Camden Council, they have a shared vision supported by a delivery plan, which sets out what they will do and when, and how they will know if they succeed. It is part of the council's plan to create a cleaner, greener, healthier borough. PAS thinks this is helpful in showing how the Council are working across departments to deliver nature recovery activities and wider benefits such as health.