LNRS in the planning system

Advocating for a stronger role for Local Nature Recovery Strategies in the planning system.

Oxfordshire rural landscape - a scattering of houses amid arable fields and woodlands


Local Nature Recovery Strategies (LNRS) - the spatial strategies for nature mandated in the Environment Act 2021 - have the potential to be a powerful tool that will help restore our natural habitats and green spaces.

But they can only do this effectively if they are properly integrated into local planning and spending decisions. As it stands, we are concerned that the duty described in the legislation to 'have regard to' LNRS in planning decisions will not give them the weight they merit at this critical time for our natural world. We are working to ensure the LNRS is given weight in the planning system in Oxfordshire - for example, by being made a binding part of Local Plans.

For nature to recover, it can no longer be an afterthought but must be put at the heart of the decision-making process.

What we're doing

OLNP Manager Matt Whitney and Chair Richard Benwell visiting the department for levelling up, housing and communities

In early 2023, the Oxfordshire Local Nature Partnership proactively co-ordinated a letter from 21 local nature partnerships in the country to the Department for Levelling-Up, Housing and Communities to ask for a more robust role for LNRS in the planning system. We were pleased to be invited to meet and discuss this with the minister.

The OLNP chair Richard Benwell and manager Matt Whitney subsequently met with Rachel Maclean MP, the Minister of State for Housing and Planning, to ask that the new Local Nature Recovery Strategies (LNRS) be made part of local development plans.

We continue to work with key partners in the sector to help develop this county's LNRS and make sure it is as robust as possible.