The Council has been appointed by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) to lead the preparation of a new Local Nature Recovery Strategy (LNRS) for Somerset.
As one of 48 Responsible Authorities across the UK, the Council has been awarded £310k from the £14m government fund to lead the drawing up the plan to create and restore wildlife-rich habitats across the UK.
Led by the Council and the Local Nature Partnership, the Local Nature Recovery Strategy the new LNRS will be a new long-term evidence-based strategy to recover, protect and enhance nature and wildlife here in Somerset.
Over the next 12 to 18 months, the Council will establish what is needed to protect and restore Somerset’s nature to benefit the biodiversity of habitats and species.
It will also look to identify further environmental benefits, such as flood regulation, water quality and access to green space for health and wellbeing.
Working with the Somerset Local Nature Partnership, the Council will:
- Engage with stakeholders across the farming, health, community, development and natural resource management sectors.
- Drive a coordinated action plan.
- Highlight where the most important areas for nature are.
- Identify opportunities to restore, grow and connect wildlife in urban and rural areas.
- Adopt a joined-up approach working with residents, groups, landowners, and organisations to build a mapped framework
Opportunities for Somerset residents, businesses, farmers, landowners, and communities to have their say and contribute to the strategy will be shared in the coming months.
Kirsty Larkins, Service Director for Climate and Sustainability at Somerset Council, said:
One of our key priorities is a green, more sustainable Somerset and it is vital that we act now to recover and protect wildlife and nature and halt the decline of biodiversity in Somerset, playing our part in the UK-wide effort.
This protection and enhancement goes hand in hand with our commitment to tackle climate change. As with any strategy of this kind, the key to its success will be collaboration – developing common goals we can all get behind, by working together and building understanding.
We look forward to working with Somerset residents and other partners to develop this strategy together.
The Somerset Local Nature Partnership is a group of representatives with various economic, social, political, and environmental interests from across the county.
Chair, Georgia Stokes, said:
Somerset Local Nature Partnership brings together a strategic mix of business, academics, statutory and voluntary organisations to champion nature and the benefits a healthy natural world brings.
Working with Somerset Council on the Local Nature Recovery Strategy enables a joint approach to recovering nature in the county, ensuring the people of Somerset have an opportunity to access nature where they live and work within a thriving countryside teaming with wildlife. Despite being renowned for its greenness, Somerset nature is struggling.
The Somerset State of Nature report shows the loss of precious habitats which are home to important species such as Adder, Greater horseshoe bats and the Skylark and are iconic to Somerset. It is vital we work together across sector, and bring in investment, to protect, connect and restore these and other important habitats.