Five councils chosen to pilot local nature recovery strategies
Five local authorities have today been selected by the UK government to pilot a series of nature recovery strategies before a nationwide roll-out.
Cornwall, Buckinghamshire, Greater Manchester, Northumberland and Cumbria councils will share £1m of funding to map the most valuable sites and habitats for wildlife in their area, and identify where nature can be restored.
These 'local nature recovery strategies' (LNRSs) will enable councils to set out their local priorities for restoring and linking up habitats so species can thrive, and agree the best places to help nature recover.
The forthcoming Environment Bill will go further – requiring all areas in England to establish LNRSs, creating over a million acres of habitats for wildlife.
Environment minister Rebecca Pow said: “Coronavirus is shining a light on the importance of our natural world, and the positive impact nature can have on our health and well-being.
“These first pilots will be a key part of our green recovery and help kick-start the creation of over a million acres of joined up habitats that people can enjoy across the country.”
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, (Defra) said that the five pilots will be run in collaboration with Natural England, and will:
- Develop a set of maps which show most valuable existing sites and habitats for wildlife
- Use these maps to identify opportunities for recovering nature – for wildlife, for people, and as a contribution to tackling climate change and improving the environment
- Bring a broad range of groups of people together to identify and agree priorities for restoring nature.
The LNRSs will underpin the new Nature Recovery Network (NRN) – a flagship element of the government’s 25 Year Environment Plan – which intends to create or restore 500,000 hectares of wildlife habitat outside protected sites.
Natural England chair Tony Juniper said: “National ambitions for nature’s recovery will need to support local action and today is a significant milestone in doing just this.
“We look forward to working with our partners in these five areas to create bigger, better and more connected natural places to halt and then reverse the decline in our environment.”
Image credit: iStock
Chris Seekings is a reporter for TRANSFORM