Council appointed to aid nature recovery

Strategy will identify locations to create or improve habitat, to provide the greatest benefit for nature and the wider environment

Field at sunset

A new statutory duty will see Leicestershire County Council and other partners working together to take action to preserve and improve habitats, and protect and recover nature. This could include initiatives such as planting trees and hedgerows, as well as creating wetlands and grasslands as part of enabling nature to be bigger, better and more connected.

The council has been appointed as the ‘responsible authority’ by the Secretary of State for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (Defra), to lead on the work to enable nature recovery across the city, county and Rutland.

The partners in the work will be Leicester City Council, Rutland County Council, the seven district councils, Environment Agency, Forestry Commission, Natural England and The National Forest Company.

The decision was announced by Defra today, as they named 48 areas across the country where councils have been appointed as a ‘responsible authority’.

As part of developing the Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Local Nature Recovery Strategy, individuals and organisations including landowners, farmers, parish councils, environmental groups and walking groups will have the opportunity to be involved in co-creating the strategy and inputting into how to increase and improve habitats and biodiversity, and provide opportunities for nature to thrive across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland.

The main purpose of the LNRS is to identify locations to create or improve habitat, to provide the greatest benefit for nature and the wider environment.

The new powers also come with government funding from Defra over the next two years for the development of the strategy. Details of the amount of funding which will be provided are still subject to confirmation.

We’re looking forward to getting started and working in partnership with organisations and landowners alike.

This work will also help us towards our net zero ambitions, and together we can make sure that we can improve and increase biodiversity across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland, and protect our flora and fauna for future generations.

We look forward to receiving suitable funding from the government to support the delivery of this important work once the strategy has been agreed and adopted.

Environment Secretary Therese Coffey said: “We depend on nature for everything and now nature really needs our help.  Across the country, local nature recovery strategies will enhance wildlife habitats that reflect the wonderful tapestry of nature that exists on our isles.”  

Natural England Chair Tony Juniper said: “Nature recovery must be locally led and delivered at scale if we are to create more, better, connected nature-rich habitats that enable wildlife to recover, move and thrive. Through these initiatives that support a growing national Nature Recovery Network, we can create natural landscapes which will capture carbon, mitigate extreme weather events and protect the health of people and wildlife.    

“Natural England is proud to be supporting local authorities and their partners to develop Local Nature Recovery Strategies that meet the needs of local people and the landscapes in which they live.” 

The Leicester, Leicestershire & Rutland Local Nature Recovery Strategy was discussed at Leicestershire County Council’s cabinet on Friday 26 May. The papers and a recording of the meeting are available on our website.

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