Herefordshire Council has been asked by the UK Government to bring together local landowners and nature conservation groups, and embark upon a major nature recovery programme. This will aim to seamlessly connect the many natural spaces with each other through a network of natural byways and recovered spaces, allowing species of plants to thrive and wildlife to move freely from one habitat to another uninterrupted on a joined-up ‘nature highway’.

This nature recovery programme is part of a national initiative where 48 local authorities are taking on the responsibility of coordinating a nationwide countryside restoration effort on their home territories. As part of the government's ‘Environmental Improvement Plan 2023’ the combined grassroots actions across the country will help deliver a nationwide move to restore large swathes of countryside and reinvigorate our natural environments, while supporting existing land, woodland, and river restoration programmes. 

As an appointed Responsible Authority, Herefordshire Council are tasked with producing a Local Nature Recovery Strategy (LNRS) for Herefordshire, which will be developed working in consultation with landowners, nature organisations and conservation groups in the county, such as Herefordshire Wildlife Trust. We will also be drawing on the expertise and resources of the Forestry Commission, Environment Agency and Natural England in shaping our approach, and ultimately delivering the local programmes of activity.

Cllr Swinglehurst commented:“This is a great opportunity for the county to map its species and land use, identifying the key areas that will benefit from the conservation and nature regeneration schemes. The mapping exercise will provide invaluable insights and data, giving us the essential evidence base that will help the Council and our partners shape our local plans.”

The newly produced map will join up with maps being drafted by other local authorities to form one complete view of the nations’ natural landscape, and its planned restoration.

Over the next 12 months Herefordshire Council will reach out to local nature groups and national agencies, and bring them together with the county's landowners to collaborate in developing new plans that best serve our countryside. By December 2024, the council aim to have Herefordshire's new (LNRS) strategy and plans in place. Funding has already been allocated from government to support the proposed local nature recovery programmes.

The council has set up a webpage where you can keep up-to-date with progress and details of the LNRS nature recovery activities.

Published: 8th September 2023