Council set to receive funding to further drive nature recovery in Cumbria

Westmorland and Furness Council are set to receive funding from Defra to help develop a tailored nature recovery strategy for Cumbria.

Following a government announcement, the council is one of 48 local authorities set to benefit as it receives an allocation from a £14 million funding pot enabling it to work with its local communities to develop a tailored nature recovery strategy for its area.

This latest funding will allow the council to build on the success of the Cumbria Local Nature Recovery Strategy pilot developed in 2020 following Cumbria being chosen as one of five pilot areas in the country to trial the development of a draft Local Nature Recovery Strategy (LNRS).

Work can now begin to finalise the strategy based on the pilot and accelerate the delivery of achieving the overall vision for nature recovery in Cumbria:

“Cumbria’s wildlife in rural, urban and coastal places will be actively looked after and treasured. Healthy ecosystems on land and sea will support a sustainable local economy valued for its natural assets and contribute to the wellbeing of residents and visitors.”

Westmorland and Furness Council, as the responsible authority, will lead on the project working closely with key partners such as Cumberland Council, the Lake District National Park and Yorkshire Dales National Park, along with wider stakeholders and communities.

The purpose of the LNRS is to restore and link up habitats so that species can thrive, and agree the best places to help nature recover, plant trees and woodland, restore peatland, mitigate flood and fire risk, and create green spaces for local people to enjoy.

With an agreed LNRS in place, the nature recovery work of everyone in Cumbria, from the designated landscapes and large conservation partnerships, to farmers, local businesses and community groups, can help to deliver a bigger, better and more joined up nature recovery network across the whole of the county.

Westmorland and Furness Council’s Cabinet Member for Climate and Biodiversity, Councillor Giles Archibald, said:

“I am delighted that we have received this funding to help further drive nature recovery in Cumbria. It is an exciting opportunity for us to lead on this important initiative that will greatly benefit both the county and nature.

“Climate change is a significant threat to our biodiversity and this project will provide Cumbria with the valuable opportunity to play a vital role in addressing this crisis by supporting, restoring and enhancing our biodiversity.

“Thanks to this announcement, we can now build on the success of the Cumbrian Local Nature Recovery Strategy pilot to ensure everyone can help deliver on its vision. These Local Nature Recovery Strategies combine local knowledge with expert information, and we look forward to working with a wide range of partnerships, organisations and individuals that have an interest or influence in nature recovery at a local and national level in the coming months to develop an effective strategy for the county.”

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.”

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