Agenda item

Oxfordshire Local Nature Partnership Forum 6 June

LNP Manager presents initial LNRS-related outputs from the LNP Forum.


The Board is asked to provide feedback on the day, and on the outputs, and any additional suggestions to add value.


The Chair and Matt Whitney provide a verbal report updating the Board on the LNP Forum which this year had taken place on 6 June. The focus of this year’s event had on been on local nature recovery strategies and to create an initial frame of reference and ambition for the Oxfordshire Local Nature Recovery Strategy by exploring positive and negative scenarios for different habitat types. The event was considered to have gone very smoothly on the day and the Future Oxfordshire Partnerships team were thanked for their roles in supporting in planning and delivering.


Matt Whitney gave a short presentation setting out an initial overview of priorities emerging from discussions on the day.


Trees and woodland habitats


·           Restore heathy treescape.

·           Education and engagement.

·           All woodland in good condition or active management

·           Raise profile of trees in development


Urban habitats


·           Engagement and education

·           Retrofit more nature into places without it being very hard/expensive.

·           Community-level urban gardening projects (25% of all urban green space).

·           Design nature into new developments better (GI standards, BNG, neighbourhood plans)


Arable habitats


·           90% of farmland to be managed regeneratively.

o    Link to Oxfordshire Food Strategy

o    Oxfordshire regenerative food branding?

·           Landscape biodiversity

o    Landscape Recovery schemes in Environmental Land Management, (ELM).

o    How to prioritise ELM options locally.


Grassland habitats


·           Bigger, better, more joined up grasslands as advocated by Professor Sir John Lawton.

·           Enhance reputation and importance of grasslands on people’s hearts and minds, (currently undervalued).


River and wetland habitats


·           Landscape-scale restoration (link with Catchment Based Approach, (CaBA).

·           Enhance water quality, (engagement with Thames Water)

·           Physical restoration (removal of barriers, riparian habitats, tree planting/thinning, re-wiggling.


Overall key themes from the Forum


·           Measurement, monitoring, recording and data management.

·           Condition data, habitat quality lacking

·           Funding – establish an Oxfordshire Environmental Fund?

·           How to manage access

·           Facilitation, (of communities, landowners, farmers etc)

·           How to deal with climate change uncertainty?

·           People’s changing attitudes.


Note: In discussion, a number of points were made which related or crossed over with the following agenda item and so the Chair decided that the items be merged. The following comments relate to the discussion of the organisation and delivery of the Forum event only and other comments made which related to the development of the LNRS are addressed in the next item:


·           Various board members commented the Forum had been a great day and very well organised.

·           There was a need to seek to define what the success of such an event might look like – for instance was success about the good conversations, networking and engagement with others leading to information exchange etc that took place?

·           Had the excellent points made by various expert delegates during the day really affected the understanding or changed officers’ perspectives?

·           Evaluation of who had attended and what groups they had represented and whether it was felt that certain groups were not being as represented as well as they could be. The perception was that certain groups such as the farming community and business groups were still underrepresented.


In respect of the objectives of the day, Matt Whitney responded that there had been two main objectives for the Forum event. Firstly, to update everyone and establish a common understanding of the current LNRS position and the future tasks to be completed. It was felt that this had been achieved. Secondly, to help inform the development of the LNRS as a LNP in terms of a defining a long list of priorities for the next stages of engagement, whilst maintaining an awareness that the LNRS was a document ultimately owned and to be produced by Oxfordshire County Council as the responsible authority. It was felt that this had also been largely achieved and what was needed now was further prioritisation and creative thinking.


The Chair added that the discussions had also indicated ways in which it might be possible for Oxfordshire to go above the baseline and to raise awareness of this with local decision makers.


The update was noted.