LOCAL NATURE RECOVERY STRATEGY
Local Nature Recovery Strategies (LNRS) are a new, England-wide system of spatial strategies. They will establish actions to drive nature’s recovery and provide wider environmental benefits. They were introduced into law by the Environment Act 2021.
In June 2023, Mayor Oliver Coppard was made Responsible Authority for a South Yorkshire LNRS. This includes the areas of all four Local Authorities in the region: Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham, and Sheffield. A map of each LNRS area is available here.
South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority (SYMCA) will lead the strategy development and follow guidance as set out by Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA).
12th September 2023: The South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority Board approved a governance model for LNRS development. This includes:
- A ‘Steering Group’ to provide oversight and executive decision-making, whose membership includes all six Supporting Authorities and SYMCA as Responsible Authority (see below).
- An ‘Advisory Panel’ to provide recommendations on high-level and complex issues as required for strategy development, such as strategy outcomes, outputs, and conceptual approach. The membership will include a diverse set of organisations across the public, private and third sector.
- Three ‘Working Groups’ of Supporting and Responsible Authority officers which will undertake specific workstreams, split into thematic areas:
- ‘Evidence’ – collating relevant data and analytical insights, drawing upon ecological expertise, and developing a mapped nature recovery network
- ‘Engagement’ – designing a plan for engaging and liaising with external stakeholders, from the general public to strategically significant stakeholders
- ‘Delivery’ – outlining and preparing for delivery of LNRS following strategy completion, considering the variety of potential delivery mechanisms and users of the strategy .
What is a Local Nature Recovery Strategy?
The Government’s ambition for the new strategies is to act as a powerful new tool that will help public, private, and voluntary sectors work better together for nature’s recovery, enabling effort to be focussed where it will have most benefit.
South Yorkshire is one of 48 LNRS areas in England. Each will identify areas that will either create or improve habitat that will have the greatest benefit to the environment. SYMCA will work with a wide range of stakeholders to agree the priorities for nature recovery in the region. This will involve drawing upon evidence to map the most valuable existing areas for nature and developing proposals. The published strategy will include a local habitat map and a written statement of biodiversity priorities.
DEFRA anticipate the strategy development will take 12-18 months and that all LNRSs will be published by March 2025. Following that, strategies will be refreshed between 3-10 years.
Why is it important?
A flourishing natural world is important for its own sake, but nature is also our most precious asset. It provides us with essentials such as food and water, regulates our air quality, protects us from severe weather, and fulfils our need for recreation, health and wellbeing.
However, nature is in decline in the UK, with 41% of species having decreased in abundance since 1970 and 15% threatened with extinction. Over half of the land area in South Yorkshire is in ‘poor’ condition for natural habitats, according to natural capital mapping co-commissioned by SYMCA.
SYMCA has an important role to play by developing and galvanising action to deliver landscape scale nature recovery. In November 2019 SYMCA declared a Climate and Environment emergency. This noted the urgent need for collective action from across public, private and voluntary sectors. it also recognised the need for us as individuals to change the way we live, work and travel.
Inspiring work is already taking place in our region. The Sheffield Lakeland Partnership has developed a vision for a wilder, more natural and resilient landscape. Working with local partners it has delivered a wide range of nature recovery interventions, natural flood risk management, volunteer activities, inclusive engagement opportunities and more.
Governance and decision making
SYMCA is the organisation leading the LNRS development, with Mayor Oliver Coppard appointed as ‘Responsible Authority’. Developing the strategy will involve engagement from a range of stakeholders, including the following as ‘Supporting Authorities’:
- Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council
- City of Doncaster Council
- Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council
- Sheffield City Council
- Peak District National Park Authority
- Natural England
There will be a range of opportunities to engage in development of the LNRS. We would like to hear from you, so if you’d like to get in touch please contact us at LNRS@southyorkshire-ca.gov.uk.