Local Nature Recovery Strategies are an England-wide system of spatial strategies

Local Nature Recovery Strategies

Local Nature Recovery Strategies are a new, England-wide system of spatial strategies that will establish priorities and map proposals for specific actions to drive nature’s recovery and provide wider environmental benefits. The requirement for there to be Local Nature Recovery Strategies, what they are and how they should generally work are established by the Environment Bill.

Process
The Environment Bill has been passed, and work has started on the Oxfordshire Local Nature Recovery Strategy, lead by Oxfordshire County Council. Check out their website for the latest updates https://www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/residents/environment-and-planning/local-nature-recovery-strategy.

Get Involved


Thank you to everyone who has contributed to Oxfordshire’s Local Nature Recovery Strategy through meetings, workshops, and the online survey. We really appreciate your time and effort and we are working hard to analyse the results so they can be included in the next stage of developing the LNRS. The online webinar held on 8th May discussed more detail about our progress. You can watch this below.

Please tell us abour your habitat projects


Now we’d like to identify where people are already taking (or are willing/planning to take) action for habitat creation, restoration, or improvement in Oxfordshire. This information will be used in addition to data we already have on existing nature areas to help us identify priority areas.- If you already have digital map data files that show where you have (or want to) take actions, please email these directly to localnaturerecoverystrategy@oxfordshire.gov.uk  - If not, you can use our mapping tool to share with us where you have done (or plan to do) habitat creation or restoration works on the Local Nature Strategy website. Please be aware that actions and locations that you tell us about will not be compulsory for landowners to deliver through the LNRS, instead our hope is that we may be able to increase funding opportunities for locations where people are willing to take actions. We cannot guarantee that your locations will be included as priority areas on the final map, but they will form part of the evidence-base used for these decisions. Please share your information by the 9th June 2024.

Stakeholder Engagement

A very important aspect of the NRS is the strong focus on stakeholder engagement – going beyond ‘the usual suspects’ that have been engaged in conservation plans and strategies in the past. The process will be as important as the output; ensuring meaningful engagement from a breadth of stakeholders will be essential in ensuring the NRS delivers nature’s recovery on the ground. Meaningful stakeholder engagement takes time, particularly with groups with which we do have existing strong relationships. Wild Oxfordshire identified that Farmers & Landowners and Businesses are two stakeholder groups who the environmental sector in Oxfordshire would need to engage with more proactively. We therefore started the Nature Recovery Ambassadors project to establish relationships with influential people in the farming, landowner and business sectors so they were primed to engage with the Nature Recovery Strategy.

Wild Oxfordshire Chair the Engagement and Communications Working Group for the LNRS.

Evidence-base

The NRS will need to based on sound science and a strong local evidence base. The NRS will be action-focussed, and will need to identify areas where activities can be undertaken to support the ambition of the nature recovery strategy. Thames Valley Environmental Records Centre (TVERC) will lead on this area of work, helping to compile all baseline data, any modelling (e.g., natural capital or climate change), and opportunity maps.

Wild Oxfordshire are an active member of the Data & Evidence Working Group for the LNRS.

We already have some excellent baseline evidence data. Although these will need reviewing in light of the DEFRA guidance, they put Oxfordshire in a great position to start work on the NRS. The baseline evidence base we have includes:

Oxfordshire State of Nature – This report is a comprehensive review of Oxfordshire’s Wildlife and provides vital baseline data. Over 60 species experts and over 40 environmental organisations contributed data sets and volunteer hours into the report, which highlights the natural jewels in Oxfordshire’s crown and considers what is currently being done, and what could be done better in future.

The report was led by Wild Oxfordshire, supported by RSPB, BBOWT, Oxfordshire County Council, CPRE, Environment Agency, Natural England, Oxfordshire County Council and Banbury Ornithological Society.

Oxfordshire (draft) Nature Recovery Network – This is map which shows where we need to focus our efforts, and some high-level policies which would help achieve nature’s recovery. It will form the spatial element of the Nature Recovery Strategy (‘local habitat map’ in Defra terminology). This was formally submitted to the OP2050 consultation in August 2019 to ensure that nature is taken into account in development plans in Oxfordshire. This work was delivered by TVERC, Wild Oxfordshire and the Berks Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust.

In addition to the State of Nature and draft Nature Recovery Network, Healthy ecosystems restoration in Oxfordshire (HERO) is working on collating background information which will help create and inform the Strategy. HERO is led by the University of Oxford, with guidance from Wild Oxfordshire, BBOWT and TOE.

The three Protected Landscapes in Oxfordshire (Cotswolds, Chilterns and North Wessex Downs) will all have Nature Recovery Plans, as do the Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust and Catchment Partnerships which will need to be considered and engaged with (although they will be based on the same data which the draft Oxfordshire NRN was based on).

There is also work taking place across the Oxford to Cambridge Arc including Environment Principles which Oxfordshire Local Authorities have endorsed. The Ox-Cam Arc partnership will need to be engaged with to ensure cross-boundary alignment.

Funding for Delivery

Essential to meeting the ambitions of the NRS will be funding to ensure delivery of nature’s recovery on the ground.

Nature is valuable in its own right - and we also rely on it for our own survival. But it is in decline, and we know that there is currently insufficient funding available to support its recovery – the national deficit is estimated to be in the region of £56bn by 2030, and the Oxfordshire figure is estimated at over £800million. At the same time, businesses increasingly want and need to fund nature projects, whether through voluntary or mandatory markets. We are working as part of the LNP to develop a delivery framework for natural capital investment in Oxfordshire that has real integrity. This includes developing and supporting a pipeline of projects that can be invested in to enhance ecosystem service provision in the county. Check out their website for more details https://www.olnp.org.uk/nature-finance.

Governance

The Environment Bill mandates that the responsibility for producing the NRS falls to Oxfordshire County Council. We are working very closely with OCC and sit on the Steering Group of the LNP, in addition to several working groups.

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