This is the next step in working together across Wiltshire & Swindon to get the right measures in the right place to achieve the ‘bigger, better, more joined up’ environmental outcomes that we all want to see. Local Nature Recovery Strategies (or LNRSs) are featured in the 2021 Environment Act, Part 6 Environment Act 2021 (legislation.gov.uk) and are intended to cover the whole of England through adjoining Local Authority area parcels. Wiltshire and Swindon, although separate authorities, are working together on ours.

Everyone is aware of the how hard it is balancing the needs of nature with housing, employment and infrastructure development pressures on the county. One of the roles of the LNRSs, which will be periodically reviewed, is to opportunity to highlight areas of priority where nature focus can add most value to the Nature Recovery Network and support resilient populations of wildlife as well as people.

It is likely that the LNRS will be used in part to guide:

  • What actions by farmers would be most locally beneficial and attract payment under the Local Nature Recovery component of the new Environmental Land Management (ELM) schemes
  • Where biodiversity lost to development should be replaced
  • Which areas should be prioritised to be kept clear of development altogether
  • How the targets for habitat creation and the Nature Recovery Network can be met most sustainably

Mapping is an important part of the LNRS, both making sure that what is already in place is recorded, and then looking at opportunities to improve and join up wild places. The Wiltshire & Swindon Biological Records Centre is applying its expertise here, and a package of national information and data is to be made available from Natural England for individual areas to use selectively. Every LNRS will look different. A series of 5 Pilots were conducted in 2020, all with very different findings and mapping outputs: Shaping the future of Nature Recovery: Developing Local Nature Recovery Strategies - Natural England (blog.gov.uk)

Natural England have indicated that further guidance on the process of LNRS development will be available in autumn 2022, progressing to prototype plans being in place by the end of 2023. In the meantime, we have been working to bring together local organisations such as Wiltshire Council, Swindon Borough Council, the Defence Estates, RSPB, the Woodland Trust, Plantlife, the National Trust, Farmer Group representatives, the three AONBs and three main Catchment Partnerships that intersect Wiltshire to start the conversation.

We’ve been looking at how neighbouring county of Gloucestershire have mapped the opportunities for joined up improvement for nature and wildlife, how the Pilots worked with communities to get everyone’s input, and how other Nature Recovery Plans selected the information that people feel most relevant to the task. As part of the wider national movement of Wildlife Trusts, we also keep in touch with our colleagues nationwide to learn from their experiences of building Nature Recovery Networks and Partnerships.

Watch this space on info and updates on how to be involved and have your say on our Wiltshire & Swindon Strategy!

Langford Lakes 2022

Langford Lakes, June 2022