Agenda item

Oxfordshire Local Nature Partnership Manager's update

OLNP Manager shares an update on work he has undertaken which falls outside of the standard working group/forum/board format.


The Board considered a report as set out in the Agenda which gave an outline of the some of the key activity undertaken by the LNP Manager and colleagues between Board meetings. In presenting the report, Matt Whitney encouraged board members to highlight any areas of co-dependencies or work they were involved in or areas of duplication or potential conflict. Ideas around possible additional support were also welcomed.


A number of areas were highlighted to the Board including work to support land based carbon sequestration which formed one the of the Net Zero Route Map and Action Plan, (NZRMAP) priorities.


Tom Field referred to work relating to land based carbon sequestration and also research into a hydrology based sequestration solution as part of the Thames Valley Flood Scheme. He suggested that there might be potential to marry up elements of the two workstreams.


Reference was also made to the Evenlode Flood Management Strategy and a map which set out different flood management interventions which could potentially come in at a lower cost than other forms of flood defence on the edge of Oxford.


In response to a question regarding the future of the Oxfordshire Treescapes Project, Matt Whitney commented that the project had come to the end of its existing funding and he had been supporting them to come to decision on whether or not to seek to continue. His understanding was that it was hoped to continue with the community engagement and advice side of the project through the Community Action Network and secondly discussions were ongoing around how to ensure that interactive spatial mapping data from the project remained accessible to landowners and others taking decisions about land use. In his view, such a tool would be significant to the delivery of the Local Nature Recovery Strategy.


Prue Addison queried 1) whether data collected as part of the project had been subject to independent evaluation and 2) whether that there had been any analysis of how reports generated from the data had been used together with how relevant and effective the reports had been to those using them. This was important in terms of understanding if improvements were required through the LNRS workstream.


Action: Matt Whitney to investigate further.


Simon Smith in referring to the points within the report relating to cross boundary working with the Southeast Nature Partnership commented that it was also important to remain aware that Oxfordshire also bordered the Southwest and West Midlands regions in terms of cross border working and in ensuring the Oxfordshire LNRS lined up with other nearby strategies without duplicating existing structures and arrangements. Matt Whitney commented that he also engages with Warwickshire, the Southeast Midlands LEP group of LNPs, Gloucestershire LNP Manager and is supporting Wiltshire to establish a new LNP


Finally, Matt Whitney drew the Partnership’s attention to the submission of a joint letter on behalf of approximately 25 LNP Chairs to The Rt Hon Michael Gove MP, Secretary of State for Levelling Up Communities and the Regions which called for greater consideration of local nature recovery strategies within the local development planning process. This was because of concern that current wording that local authorities ‘to have regard for’ LNRS was not strong enough to ensure that LNRSs had real influence and impact on local planning decisions. It was considered that the letter had been well received and he and the Chair had had a positive meeting with Rachel Maclean MP and civil servants on the 13 June where it was clear they at least understood the issues.


Rosie Rowe commented that initiatives such as this demonstrated the value added of the LNP and suggested that this should form part of stakeholder communications.


Action: It was agreed to share a link of the letter to board members the accessible shared Teams drive.

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