Update from the group:
We had conversations with individuals involved in all five LNRS pilots (Buckinghamshire, Cornwall, Cumbria, Greater Manchester and Northumberland) to understand their contrasting experiences. This allowed us to focus on a number of areas of concern that formed a framework for examining the outputs from the pilots.
The pilots submitted their reports (a statement of biodiversity priorities and a habitat map) at the end of May 2021. We had access to all of them and prepared a more detailed briefing, which complements Defra's 'lessons learned'. We shared this with both Natural England and Defra and it is aided our response to the LNRS consultation.
It is important that sufficient resources are put in place to ensure that LNRSs are put together properly and we followed an estimate of what is required with a briefing and some written Parliamentary Questions (here, here and here) from Caroline Lucas. These were followed by questions from Baroness Parminter in the House of Lords (here, here and here) These asked that sufficient funding is allocated from the Defra uplift in the comprehensive spending review.
Currently Defra are preparing the guidelines and are talking to potential responsible authorities for the 48 provisionally appointed LNRSs and we await to see the results, probably early autumn 2022.
Clause 106 of the Environment Act now stipulates that 'The statement of biodiversity priorities referred to in subsection (1)(a) is to include... ...habitats and species". We have been working with our members concerned with species and are currently discussing with Natural England and Defra how species considerations should be embedded in the LNRS process.
We are also concerned that for LNRS priorities to be delivered on the ground, the most important source of long-term funding will be the Environmental Land Management schemes, in particular the Local Nature Recovery (LNR) element. It is essential that LNR options are spatially prioritised using LNRSs to help deliver many of the LNRS opportunities. Otherwise LNRSs are likely to be an expensive waste of time.
For further information, contact Matt Browne, Head of Policy & Advocacy
Last updated: 23 September 2022
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