Local Nature Recovery Strategies - Useful information, updates and links

This webpage includes useful information, updates and links for local authorities on the production of Local Nature Recovery Strategies.

Whats new?

Defra recently announced the 48 LNRS responsible authority appointments and a £14 million funding pot for LNRS preparation covering this financial year and next.  In addition to the information set out in the sections below, there a number of useful links where you can find out more information including: 

We also hosted a webinar on 23rd May 2023 with officials from Defra and Natural England for local authority officers to learn more about LNRS and the role of supporting authorities. The slides and recording of the event are available.

Following on from a series of Local Nature Recovery Strategy webinars for officers a set of most frequently asked questions has been uploaded to the PAS website which include answers prepared by Defra and Natural England. 


The following sections provide a useful overview of what LNRS are, why they are needed, whose involved, how they are prepared and support provided by Natural England and PAS.

Please note that the information has been drawn from the Defra presentation delivered as part of the 'LNRS for supporting authorities' event held on 13th May 2023.   

Further advice is being prepared by Defra including LNRS and ELMs, national objectives, planning, irreplaceable habitats and prioritisation measures and we will update the links on this page as and when they are published.

What are Local Nature Recovery Strategies (LNRS)?

LNRS are a new system of spatial strategies for nature, introduced in the Environment Act 2021. LNRS will help map out the action needed to restore nature, working closely with local stakeholders, especially farmers and land managers. When put together they will be a key way to meet the Government’s England-wide nature targets.

On 23 March 2023, the government published regulations and statutory guidance setting out the process that each responsible authority must follow and what each strategy should include.  

The LNRS responsible authorities (local authorities who have been selected to lead LNRS preparation in their area) are now able to begin preparing their strategies, which should take between 12-18 months.  The preparation of each LNRS will be supported by Natural England, the Environment Agency and Forestry Commission.

Each LNRS will:

  • agree priorities for nature’s recovery
  • map the most valuable existing areas for nature
  • map specific proposals for creating or improving habitat for nature and wider environmental goals

DLUHC are working closely with Defra to develop advice on how local planning authorities should have regard to LNRSs.

Why are they important?

LNRS are a key part of a suite of new measures – including biodiversity net gain and legally binding targets – created to help reverse nature’s ongoing decline.  We need to target our efforts where they will have the most impact and help connect & expand existing areas of importance.  

They will help support nature and “nature-based solutions” by drawing together and coordinating actions from existing plans and strategies, and proposing what more should be done.

They will help to provide a common focus for action across the public, private and voluntary sectors including:

  • Biodiversity net gain
  • Duty on public authorities
  • Integrate opportunities for nature recovery into the planning system.
  • Public funding and private green finance
  • Voluntary action

They will propose action, deliver, review & update – to track what’s done and keep renewing ambitions every 3-10 years.

Who are responsible authorities?

Responsible authorities are appointed to lead the LNRS for an area by the Secretary of State. They will draw on local leadership, knowledge and expertise, underpinned by a national framework of regulations, guidance and support. 48 responsible authorities have been appointed who must: prepare > publish > review > republish their LNRS.

Regulations include rules on how to do these things to promote consistency and minimum standards. They are not prescriptive and more about how responsible authorities must work with others to create strategies with collective support to create foundations for joint delivery. 

Who are supporting authorities?

Regulations create the role of “supporting authority” and say how responsible authorities must work with them. Supporting authorities are:

  • Other local planning authorities (including National Park Authorities) in the Strategy area
  • Natural England for all LNRSs

Why are they needed?

  • To make sure LNRSs dovetail with the planning system and avoid conflicting steers for the same piece of land. LNRSs will identify areas for nature recovery for Local Plans; Local Plans will help LNRSs understand which areas of land are earmarked for other uses.
  • So that the LNRS reflects LPA thinking on delivery of BNG
  • To provide a different point of view & constructive challenge

Natural England will provide support and advice, and encourage consistency and join-up.

What’s the role of supporting authorities?

There are no requirements on the supporting authorities… but there are very good reasons to get involved.

Responsible authorities must:

  • take reasonable steps to involve supporting authorities
  • share information with them
  • have regard to their opinions
  • seek agreement to consult
  • seek agreement to publish

Regulations geared to promote early and frequent collaboration – best route to getting LNRSs which all parties are happy with and to avoid delaysIssues should be flagged early and informally where possible.

Formal concerns should still be resolved locally but can be escalated where this has not proved possible.  Responsible & supporting authorities should think ahead for sign off.

Why get involved?

There are a number of important reasons for supporting authorities to get involved in the production of LNRS:

  • So that LNRSs are useful for you
  • You’ll have to “have regard” to LNRSs – Government preparing advice on how LNRSs will inform Local Plans
  • Making sure LNRSs are consistent with Local Plans will make his much easier
  • Enable LNRSs to be a tool to help meet your own commitments and ambitions – including BNG
  • Influencing what gets proposed where, and improving access to resources to help get it done

What to expect (1)?

  • Everywhere is different – different starting points and different relationships between local authorities
  • Some responsible authorities have been waiting for their formal appointment, some are forging ahead
  • Statutory guidance creates a preparation process…

How are LNRS prepared?

The diagram below sets out the process and key steps involved in preparing an LNRS. More detail can be found in the LNRS statutory guidance document

Diagram showing LNRS preparation stages

what to expect (2)?

  • Responsible authorities will need to plan engagement early – both with supporting authorities and others
  • They will also need to think about project governance and how they plan to oversee the work
  • Many of you will be aware who the responsible authority is likely to be for your area – everyone will know soon
  • Good relationships between responsible and supporting authorities are essential – for preparation, delivery and future visions …so make sure you have strong foundations
  • Lots of past experience to build on, but it’s a new process and we’re keen to work together collectively to overcome challenges and make the most of the opportunity

Natural England's role

Supporting responsible authorities (RAs):

  • Lead agency on LNRS for the defra group
  • Lead for each LNRS in our NE area teams helping RAs to:
    • understand their responsibilities 
    • how to make an LNRS
  • Inputting our local and technical expertise
  • Helping nationally based organisations including government departments engage with individual LNRSs

A supporting authority to every LNRS:

  • Governance
  • Quality assurance
  • Cross boundary working and best practice sharing

PAS role

Aim – to help Natural England understand how best to support and communicate with local authority audience on LNRS.


  • Help to gather and share ideas / case studies / examples
  • Support the development and delivery of responsible authority and supporting authority workshops including sharing best practice and stakeholder engagement 
  • Feeding key issues back to Government and Natural England and helping develop guidance including for LPAs
  • Develop ideas on how local authorities can deliver nature recovery activities integrating actions to address climate change, biodiversity loss and wellbeing.