Here you’ll find useful information about Sussex LNRS including FAQs and how to get involved.
Whether you are or you aren’t, take our survey to let us know. We’re keen to understand what you might be considering, but also what might be stopping you.
Frequently Asked Questions
As Local Nature Recovery Strategies are a new process, you’ll probably have lots of questions about how they work. Here we try to answer some of those. If you’ve got a question that we’ve not answered, please email us or use the survey to pose your question.
Local Nature Recovery Strategies (LNRS) are ‘a new, England-wide system of spatial strategies that will establish priorities and map proposals for specific actions to drive nature’s recovery and provide wider environmental benefits’, as set out by Government in the Environment Act 2021.
As well as having a role in the planning system and directing public funding for nature recovery, LNRS will inform the delivery of ‘nature-based solutions’ for outcomes such as flood management, carbon sequestration and improvements in water quality.
West Sussex County Council and East Sussex County Council have been appointed as ‘responsible authorities’ for developing Local Nature Recovery Strategies for their respective areas with East Sussex also covering Brighton & Hove.
They are supported by local authorities, partners and stakeholders including representatives from the NFU, CLA and local farming groups.
LNRS priorities and actions to guide nature’s recovery need to be informed and supported by local people.
Landowners, managers and farmers are vital stakeholders as they own or manage 70% of the land in Sussex where opportunities for nature’s recovery will be found, and because they know their land better than anyone.
We’ll be reaching out to local landowners, land managers and farmers in lots of different ways to find out what opportunities they see on their land, and what they may have done already or are considering.
- High level LNRS evidence will be prepared to show where nationally or locally important sites and habitats are located across Sussex.
- This base line information will be shared with Sussex-based landowners, managers and farmers to inform a wide conversation about what the priorities for nature recovery in Sussex should be and how these could be achieved in practice.
- Finally, all stakeholders will then have a role in identifying areas that could become more important for nature or ‘Nature-based Solutions’ for addressing issues such as water quality, flood-risk and so on.
No. Participation in these strategies is voluntary. Government and the county councils are keen that as many stakeholders as possible get involved so that the final documents reflect local views and priorities.
However, built into the process is the principle that all landowners have the ability to identify whether they want their land to appear on the final maps (or not).
You can be involved from the beginning if you would like to participate, but even if you can’t – there will be a consultation on the final document at which point you can let us know whether you are happy for your land to be included.
We will start engaging Sussex stakeholders (including landowners, land managers and farmers) in Local Nature Recovery Strategies from the Autumn of 2023.
Wider engagement and public consultation will follow in 2024. The aim is that the strategies are published by March 2025.
No. High level LNRS maps are being created as part of the process which will use existing ecological and land management evidence.
These will help show where local or nationally important habitats and species are/were, and where there might be opportunities to maintain, improve or create these habitats and species for biodiversity or for wider environmental benefits such as flood management, cleaner water or carbon sequestration.
We do not anticipate that detailed mapping of your land will be needed but your views are key to help ground truth the evidence that we’ll have.
If you have information about your land that you think would be useful for us to know, please do email your respective county council at: EastSussexLNRS@eastsussex.gov.uk or WestSussexLNRS@westsussex.gov.uk
Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG):
There will be a clear link between LNRS and BNG. [BNG is an approach to development, land and marine management that leaves biodiversity in a measurably better state than before the development took place. From January 2024 it will be a legal requirement that most developments will need to deliver a minimum 10% BNG, if not onsite then offsite.] The LNRS will show where opportunities for nature’s recovery will have most benefit and so will help to direct BNG funding.
Agri-environment schemes/Countryside Stewardship:
Our understanding from government is that involvement from landowners and managers in the LNRS could lead to ideas for entering into agreements. There is a good link with Landscape Recovery, and we believe further links with these schemes are to be developed in more detail by DEFRA. We will keep you informed on this as more information emerges from Defra.
Investment in natural capital:
LNRS can help to identify local ambitions for nature-based solutions which can help to address issues such as water quality, flooding, carbon storage, access to nature etc. It will do this by identifying priority areas for trees, wetlands and other key habitats which can play a useful role in providing these wide benefits and could then be funded by public or private investment.
We’ll be hosting events or joining existing ones where you can find out more and/or participate.
The timings of these will consider the agricultural calendar to ensure they’re as convenient as possible. They’re likely to include a mix of in-person events such as site visits to local farms (where you can see nature recovery actions in practice), workshops and cluster meetings, as well as online events such as webinars etc.
Please check this page regularly as we’ll be posting details of events here. We will also share information through our partners such as local branches of NFU, CLA, Tenants Farmers Association (TFA), Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group (FWAG), South Downs National Park, High Weald AONB, Chichester AONB and others.
No. There are lots of great nature recovery initiatives already active in Sussex and we do not want to stall, stop or hamper their progress.
Your Local Nature Recovery Strategy may want to incorporate what is being done or is being considered in these other initiatives or schemes, and may even look for ways to expand them or connect them to others.
At the same time, not all local initiatives may end up being reflected in the LNRS for East or West Sussex, as this depends on what priorities are identified and agreed through the LNRS process.
While there’s as yet no specific link to ELMS, Local Nature Recovery Strategies will help direct future effort and funding into those areas where actions will have the most benefit for nature. Once up and running, we expect LNRS to inform future funding opportunities from a range of public and private sources.
Taking part in your Local Nature Recovery Strategy is an opportunity to help influence this process. And to do so collaboratively with local stakeholders and decision makers across sectors and districts. Having gone through a collaborative process to help identify priority areas for action, LNRS will be a useful resource on which land managers can draw to inform applications for funding, particularly those looking to undertake more spatially targeted action, such as Landscape Recovery projects.
As LNRSs come online across England, government will explore how to align funding initiatives and the strategies. For example, by considering how projects can support LNRS delivery.
Where possible we will also look to align the language used in the Sussex LNRS with that used in ELMS so that any links to funding are as clear as possible.
The LNRS process seeks to involve as many local stakeholders as possible, to collectively establish the priorities for nature’s recovery at the county scale, identify potential actions that could be taken to deliver them and where this would be most beneficial.
These actions need to be realistic and achievable, so we will be asking Sussex landowners and land managers to tell us what opportunities they see on their land, and working with them to understand how these might be delivered and supported through action and funding.
While the actions captured in our LNRS will be practical and have been identified and shaped by those who manage the land, they won’t be mandatory. Rather, they will help to direct funding and effort where these will help to deliver priorities. Landowners can also opt out of appearing on final maps, both during the process and in the final public consultation phase.
Local Nature Recovery Strategies will also be reviewed every 5 or so years in order to revisit priorities and proposed actions to ensure they remain achievable and ambitious. This first LNRS is therefore just the start of an ongoing process of collaboration with landowners to identify and adjust priorities for nature as time goes on.
Tenant farmers, like landowners, are already doing a lot for nature in Sussex. Those who work the land also have the best understanding about what opportunities exist to improve, maintain or create habitats and support key species in their vicinity. Because of this we’re really keen to hear from land managers and tenants as well as landowners as part of the LNRS process.
Taking action for nature can be difficult for tenants due to the contractual nature of their tenancy agreements. However, this is being recognised by government. In May, Government made a commitment to ensure tenants are at the heart of plans to improve the rural economy. Recent changes to SFI include enabling tenants to apply without landlord consent and to sign up to shorter, three-year agreements which can be ended without penalty.
So, in Sussex we want tenants to be part of the LNRS process and to help identify how they can play a role. This is the first iteration of LNRS so we will learn as we go about the experience for tenants; it may be the case that future iterations of the LNRS will provide even more opportunity for tenants to get involved.
Under the Environment Act, Local planning authorities now have a strengthened biodiversity duty. This means that as part of their statutory role, they must now consider how they can both conserve and enhance biodiversity.
LNRS will help them to do this by identifying areas in their district of particular importance for biodiversity and those which could become important in the future due to their potential to support habitats and species or nature-based solutions. This information will help to inform decisions by local planning authorities which may have an impact on nature.
In addition to the enhanced Biodiversity Duty, The Environment Act specifically states that public bodies, such as local planning authorities, have to ‘have regard to’ LNRSs in their decision-making.
Given the above, LNRS will have a direct influence on local plans by providing evidence of areas across the district of importance for biodiversity and for investment in nature or nature-based solutions to problems such as flood risk, water quality, access to nature and so on. They will thus be used to inform how a local plan interprets existing policy within the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) which requires them to protect and enhance biodiversity.
LNRS and the planning system have been designed to fit together. Exact guidance is being developed but what we know now is that that the LNRS will identify where offsite Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) - which is being delivered by the planning system - would best be delivered and where there will be incentives within the BNG system to do so. LNRSs were created to be the targeting system for offsite habitat creation and improvement to meet new BNG requirements. LNRSs will not say where offsite gain must happen. Instead, delivery in locations proposed by the LNRS will be incentivised by the biodiversity metric.
We also envisage the LNRS will be an excellent evidence base for the local plan. They will highlight where habitat should be created, potentially where habitats not currently designated are playing a particularly important role locally for both nature and people, which should be protected from development, and where ecosystem services are needed near to developments.
The Levelling Up and Regeneration Act is making changes to the planning system which will lead to government updating the National Planning Policy Framework. It is likely that these updates will include more specific information on how LNRSs should be given weight in the plan-making process. Guidance for Local Planning Authorities on this is being produced by DLUHC and is due to be published later in 2023.