LNRS ambitions


Matt Whitney







This paper highlights some suggested ambitions for the Local Nature Recovery Strategy. These ambitions would serve to add value to the LNRS process, helping to ensure its effectiveness.



The Board is asked to:



-       Comment on the ambitions presented

-       Endorse the consideration of this approach by the LNP policy group, and the LNRS steering group





Local nature recovery strategies (LNRS) are a system of spatial strategies for nature and environmental improvement required by law under the Env act 2021. The main purpose of the strategies is to identify locations to create or improve habitat most likely to provide the greatest benefit for nature and the wider environment. Oxfordshire County Council (OCC) is the authority responsible for producing the LNRS. OCC are working closely with OLNP to this end.


The OLNP Forum event on Tuesday 6th June was an early opportunity for partners to engage with the LNRS. At this event, OLNP Chair proposed a number of ambitious steps that could be taken to help ensure LNRS was effective.



In the absence of strong guidance from central government as to how LNRS will interact with the planning system, it is proposed that Oxfordshire Councils design and implement a process that writes LNRS into all key decisions and policy areas from the start. One way of doing this would be to establish a strong link between LNRS and Local Plans.



LNRS regulations and guidance from central government failed to establish what targets they expect LNRS to include. It is proposed the Oxfordshire LNRS sets a target

-       30% of land in Oxfordshire to be managed for nature (currently 12%)

-       Everyone in Oxfordshire has access to nature-rich greenspace within fifteen minutes of their home



It is proposed that as well as spatially based targets for habitat extent and condition, the LNRS stipulates some goals that are charismatic, such as bringing back a species that was previously extinct in Oxfordshire (specific goals to be led by ecological stakeholders).



It is proposed that the LNRS process nominates one or two flagship landscape-scale delivery projects, that operate in areas identified by the nature recovery network as priority areas for nature restoration and that can be funnels for early investment to secure effective, early gains towards wider nature recovery in the county.



A major part of LNRS will be the opportunity maps. To ensure that on-the-ground delivery is guided by our strategic spatial prioritisation, it is key to provide access to the data to as many people as possible. It is proposed that LNRS finds a way to centrally fund the environmental record centre, to ensure as many actions and actors as possible are guided by its priorities.