Agenda and minutes

Oxfordshire Local Nature Partnership Board - Wednesday, 21 September 2022 10.00 am

Venue: Sandford-on-Thames Village Hall, Henley Road, Oxford, OX4 4YN

Contact: Matt Whitney, Local Nature Partnership Manager 

No. Item


Apologies, conflicts of interest and Chair's announcements


There were apologies from James Price, Giles Brockbank and David Knight.


There were no conflicts of interest reported.


The Board welcomed Susan Harbour, Strategic Partnerships Manager (and line manager of the LNP Manager) and Becky Chesshyre, the new Communications Manager who comes with more than five years’ experience at Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust. Part of Becky’s role includes providing Communications resource to the LNP.



Notes of the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 278 KB

To consider and approve the notes of the Board meeting held on 8 June 2022. Board to agree for these, and future minutes, to be published to the South and Vale website, which is publicly accessible.


Notes of the previous meeting were approved.


The Board was asked to note that these, and all future agendas and minutes, are published here, and will be available via the LNP website which was currently being worked on.


LNP Priority setting pdf icon PDF 597 KB

It is considered useful at this stage to formally adopt a set of priorities that can represent a strategic framework for action for the LNP. The LNP Manager proposes the adoption of three clear priority areas: Local Nature Recovery Strategy, Natural Capital Investment and People and Nature. The Board is asked to approve this.



The Board members updated one another on Oxfordshire current affairs. This will be a standing item on future agendas.


The Board noted the enhanced importance of Local Nature Partnerships in what appears to be a weakening legislative environment relating to the Environment Act and Agriculture Act. The Board also noted that, despite work ceasing on the Oxfordshire Plan 2050, all of Oxfordshire’s Local Authorities are committed to working together to deliver the Oxfordshire Strategic Vision, which has environmental sustainability at its core. The Local Nature Partnership is considered one of the key tools towards delivering on this vision.


ACTION – MW to bring draft calendar of influence to next Board meeting, including North Wessex Downs Management Plan, Cotswolds AONB Management Plan and West Oxfordshire Issues and Options Consultation

ACTION – MW to circulate the Oxfordshire Strategic Vision with minutes

ACTION – DM and MW to connect regarding the Wytham Woods project.


As the main tools at the disposal of the LNP amount to advice, ideas and encouragement, it is imperative that we have clear, visible priorities that reflect the key areas of focus for the partnership The Board agreed the following:


·           Natural Capital,

·           Nature Recovery, including the Local Nature Recovery Strategy (LNRS), (this to explicitly include environmental land management and farming) and

·           People and Nature.


These priorities will be presented to the LNP Forum on October 12, which will be asked to endorse them (or propose amendments) and suggest objectives in each area.


Sub-groups pdf icon PDF 568 KB

This paper presents the suggested ways of communication between the sub-groups and the Board, as well as an update on progress from each group since the last Board meeting. The Board is asked to approve the ways of working, and respond to the questions raised by the groups.



The LNP Manager proposed a framework to ensure the Board and sub-groups are able to communicate effectively. These are outlined in the paper that was circulated with the Agenda pack.  The Board noted that representatives of the sub-group serve as a spokesperson for the LNP’s broad objectives rather than for their employers.


Sub-group updates can be found in the paper accompanying the Agenda pack.


Biodiversity Gain Group

1)    The Board were asked for feedback on three of the principles for Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) delivery proposed by the BNG subgroup. The Board agreed pushing for countywide policy alignment on BNG is important. The Board noted the different advantages and disadvantages for people and nature of onsite and offsite mitigation. Onsite mitigation is better able to provide dual benefits to people and nature, but is not usually an appropriate replacement for specific rare habitats and species.  Offsite mitigation can in the right circumstances more effectively achieve wholesale benefits for nature but is harder for people to access and enjoy. They did not endorse a minimum offsite requirement for net gain delivery, in part because the ‘mitigation hierarchy’ (which mandates that developers should avoid impacts first, then mitigate and only compensate as a last resort) prevents it.

The LNP is taking advantage of an opportunity to link with University to research how its playing out on the ground – Prue Addison is the key contact point for this.

2)    The Board endorsed the drive to go over and above 10% minimum. There is precedent to support this. For instance, Cotswolds AONB management plan will be recommending a higher percentage than 10%. The planning inspector endorsed 25% biodiversity net gain as part of the planning proposals for the garden village. And the Draft Nature Recovery Network (NRN) work developed a draft policy, available on the Wild Oxfordshire website, supporting a 20% ambition.

3)    The Board noted that clearer definitions of local irreplaceable habitats are needed, to add nuance to the DEFRA metric.


ACTION – BNG subgroup to talk to council planning policy officers to establish the main problems around delivery of excellent onsite provision of net gain.

ACTION - SS to share the paper supporting 20% net gain in Cotswolds AONB


Health and Nature

ACTION - PA to introduce ML and RR to Steve at Thames Valley Environmental Record Centre.



Susan Harbour volunteered to act as the Board representative for this group, despite not being a formal Board member.


Natural Capital Investment

The Board noted that MW was meeting with University of Oxford the following day to discuss collaboration in this area.


Biodiversity Advisory Group (BAG)

BAG’s request to become a LNP subgroup was formally endorsed by Board.


Local Nature Recovery Strategy group

Currently an informal group, awaiting the formal guidance and funding from central government. The Board endorsed this group being a LNP subgroup, led by Oxfordshire County Council, who are the likely Responsible Authority for this work.




Forum event pdf icon PDF 527 KB

The LNP Forum takes place on October 12th at Kirtlington Manor. The schedule for the day is provided in the paper. The Board is also asked to approve release of £2,500 for the work carried out by Wild Oxfordshire in helping prepare for the event, and approve the primer paper.




Vice Chair

It is considered good governance to appoint a Vice Chair for the LNP Board. This person will be expected to stand in for the Chair in the event of their absence, participate in pre-Board agenda setting, and act as an informal adviser to the LNP Manager.


The Board deferred the appointment of a Vice Chair to a later date due to time constraints. Prue Addison was nominated as a candidate.


ACTION – RB and MW will conduct the process of Vice Chair appointment online before the next Board meeting.



LNP Manager Update pdf icon PDF 362 KB

This item is a summary of key points and issues from the LNP Manager’s time in post so far, that are not covered in the other agenda items, but are worth bringing to the attention of Board members.


The Board noted the update from the LNP Manager.



LNP Budget pdf icon PDF 186 KB

A quick look at the state of LNP finances.


This item will be a standing item at all Board meetings. There was not time for consideration or approval of the budget at this meeting.



Next meeting - Wed 7th Dec 10:00-12:00

Board members to discuss whether all meetings will take place in person, or whether every other meeting is held online.


It was noted that next meeting was scheduled to take place on Wednesday 7 December at 10:00.