Cornwall Nature Recovery Pilot

Meeting the ambitions of our Environmental Growth Strategy needs clear and well-evidenced priorities on what and where in Cornwall we can best grow nature. This will help us to understand the most effective ways we can help nature recover, whether through:

  • wildflower habitats for pollinators
  • woodlands and wetlands to fight climate change
  • new green spaces to enjoy

Cornwall was chosen by Government as one of only 5 places in the country to be a ‘Nature Recovery Pilot‘ to develop a draft ‘Local Nature Recovery Strategy’.

This will be a spatial blueprint for where we can best support nature, and lays out how to grow nature and kickstart the recovery of wildlife in Cornwall. It provides a chance to shape a coherent approach for developing nature-based solutions to deliver a range of environmental, economic and social benefits.

It will be one of the delivery plans for our long-term framework Environmental Growth Strategy, and will clearly put the ecological emergency as a priority alongside the climate emergency – with Cornwall as a leader in response to both.

What is a ‘Nature Recovery Strategy’?

Local Nature Recovery Strategies are plans for growing nature in local areas. They consist of:

  • a map of the most valuable areas for wildlife
  • opportunities to improve nature further
  • local priorities for increasing biodiversity

The strategies are a statutory requirement under the new Environment Act. This means that Responsible Authorities (Cornwall Council and Council of the Isles of Scilly in our case) must develop one. Councils will then have to report on progress on the LNRS every five years.

What did the pilot involve?

The pilot was led by Cornwall Council, and the draft strategy was co-created by the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Nature Partnership. Over 700 local stakeholders generously shared their views to help shape the draft – including environment experts, farmers and the general public. You can read the draft and watch some of our events again below.

What will the strategy and the pilot be useful for?

It will be one of the crucial next steps towards delivering our Environmental Growth Strategy. It will specify how we will realise its target that 30% of the land and seas of Cornwall and Scilly to be positively managed for nature by 2030.

By helping us to understand where the most effective places in Cornwall are it will help nature recover. It will also help guide a future investment plan.

It will also support us in multiple ways including:

  • Identifying spatial allocations for nature, such as priority sites for Forest for Cornwall.
  • Strengthening other local ambitions with nature-based solutions. For example, it will strengthen local ambitions on climate change and flood risk management. This will be by guiding nature-based approaches to carbon removal and flood prevention.
  • Guiding other local policy initiatives, including:
  • Helping us to influence and work closely with Government, before they roll out LNRS’s to the rest of the country
  • Helping us to attract future funding for environmental growth

What next?

The pilot completed at the end of May 2021, with an initial draft now sent to Defra. You can read Defra’s reflections on the pilots. Government will now be drafting statutory guidance for the production of Local Nature Recovery Strategies, drawing on the lessons from the pilot.

You can read the pilot draft here:

If you require this in an alternative format, please get in touch with us at [email protected].

This is just a first draft. We will be undertaking a lot more engagement and consultation later this year so that many more people locally can have their say, as well as evaluating the impacts the draft might have. The timescales for this depend upon the release of statutory guidance for the new Environment Act. The draft will then be revised and updated as we move towards adoption.

Action for nature doesn’t need to wait for the strategy however. You can get involved and take action for nature now.

Watch again – Nature Recovery Pilot Events