Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Local Nature Recovery Strategy takes significant strides towards doubling nature
Cambridgeshire, recognised as one of the most nature-depleted counties in England, is making substantial progress in its commitment to “Doubling Nature” through the development of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Local Nature Recovery Strategy (LNRS). With an ambitious economic growth agenda, the strategy aims to place nature at the forefront, addressing the existing deficit of rich wildlife areas across the region and national biodiversity decline.
A Local Nature Recovery Strategy plays a pivotal role in delivering this ambitious goal, ensuring that nature becomes more extensive, better, and more connected. This initiative kickstarts the recovery of nature, contributing to the well-being and prosperity of the community. It aims to enhance public access to the countryside as well as contributing to improving air and water quality, mitigating flood risk, storing carbon and making our county a more attractive place in which to live, to work and to visit. The strategy aligns with the Environment Act 2021, focusing on setting priorities for nature recovery in the country.
Key components of the LNRS include a Statement of Biodiversity Priorities and a Local Habitat Map, providing a comprehensive overview of biodiversity, opportunities for recovery, and important areas for nature. The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority (CPCA), has delegated the responsibility to Cambridgeshire County Council, in collaboration with Natural Cambridgeshire as a key partner.
Since January 2023, the Steering Group has diligently worked on establishing project management principles, creating a robust governance structure, engaging key stakeholders, and understanding baseline data crucial for the LNRS. Notably, in October 2023, contracts were awarded to key players:
- Natural Capital Solutions: Providing expert GIS support for data and evidence workstream. A leading environmental consultancy specialising in revealing and enhancing the benefits of the natural environment, contributing to addressing biodiversity and climate emergencies. Natural Capital Solutions will provide mapping support, identifying opportunities to enhance nature across the region, and presenting final maps through a publicly accessible web-based interactive map.
- Land Use Consultants: Playing an authorship role and writing the final strategy. Land Use Consultants are an award-winning environmental consultancy with nearly 60 years of experience, operating with an employee-owned model. LUC will be collaborating with the Steering Group and Development Team, and bringing extensive experience in landscape-scale nature recovery to inform the production of the Strategy.
- Natural Cambridgeshire: Supporting stakeholder engagement and communication workstream. Actively engaging with diverse stakeholders, including local communities, businesses, and government entities, the organisation is committed to fostering collaboration and implementing strategies for biodiversity conservation. Natural Cambridgeshire will engage with landowners and farmers in recognition of the importance of agriculture to our economy, and the role that farmers can play in building a more resilient county via adopting more regenerative farming practices and creating space for nature on their land. As a key partner in the development of the LNRS, Natural Cambridgeshire contributes expertise to ensure a locally led and evidence-based approach, promoting a sustainable and resilient future for the region’s ecology.
The LNRS will guide investments in nature recovery, influencing planning and development, environmental incentives, nature-based solutions, and overall funding for specific activities identified in the strategy.
Mayor Dr Nik Johnson said “Reaching this key milestone reinforces our determination to put nature at the heart of our community and economic growth ambitions. Together with Natural Capital Solutions, Land Use Consultants, and our invaluable partner Natural Cambridgeshire, we are laying the foundations for a greener, more resilient Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.”
Martin Doel, Chair of Natural Cambridgeshire said: “This is an important milestone in developing and then implementing a local nature recovery strategy which will move us closer to the shared objective of doubling nature in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. We look forward to working with all of our partners and most particularly the Combined Authority to deliver this vital goal.”
Councillor Lorna Dupre, Chair of Cambridgeshire County Council’s Environment and Green Investment Committee said: “We’re committed to creating a greener Cambridgeshire for everyone. Through our work, the Local Nature Recovery Strategy will help to prioritise our environment and all the benefits our landscape offers us. Drawing on local knowledge – and the expertise of Natural Capital Solutions, Land Use Consultants and Natural Cambridgeshire – we’ll be creating more publicly accessible information about Cambridgeshire’s natural environment, identifying locations for improvement as well as formally recognising the importance of nature – and nature-recovery – within our communities.”
For more information on the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Local Nature Recovery Strategy and its progress, please visit https://www.cambridgeshire.gov.uk/residents/libraries-leisure-culture/biodiversity-and-greenspaces/cambridgeshire-and-peterborough-local-nature-recovery-strategy