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Launching Lancashire’s Local Nature Partnership

A partnership that will be a powerful voice and ready to take urgent action for nature in Lancashire is being relaunched.

The Lancashire Local Nature Partnership (LNP) will “build a momentum and achieve a unity delivering great things” for the county and its wild areas.

Wildlife will benefit from the launch of the LNP, but so will everyone who lives and works in the county. Many have become more engaged with, and have seen the benefits of, nature on their doorstep during lockdown.

Lancaster University has led on the creation of the new LancashireLNP, which involves a wide selection of organisations, including all of Lancashire’s 15 local authorities and relevant statutory agencies like Natural England, the Environment Agency and the Local Enterprise Partnership, as well as conservation groups, charities, businesses and universities.

The Partnership’s role is to enable and support the delivery of environmental and wildlife conservation and enhancement projects, as well as to advise and guide local decision-makers, ensuring that policies enhance the local natural environment and consider their impact on biodiversity, water quality, climate change and air quality in the region.

Local Nature Partnerships were introduced by Government in 2012 and local councils must, by law, consult their LNP about any policies and activities that could impact their area’s natural environment. A previous incarnation of the Lancashire Partnership was disbanded seven years ago and this new partnership aims to fill the gap.

Barry Simons, business Partnerships Manager at Lancaster University’s Environment Centre has laid the foundation for the new LNP.

He said: “The Local Nature Partnership will provide a vital new resource, a sounding board for decision makers, a forum that can align and coordinate plans and strategy across the region. The advice, guidance and help it will give will help to re-balance things towards nature and its recovery by acting as a more powerful voice for the natural environment across the region and by championing a ‘new different’ rather than a new normal.

“As an anchor institution within the region with strong links and partnerships across the county, and a strong track-record of knowledge exchange, Lancaster University taking a lead on recreating the LNP made perfect sense and we look forward to working with, and learning from all groups within the partnership.”

A major focus of the LNP will be to encourage investment in and protection of the county’s ‘natural capital’ – such as clean air and water, diverse and abundant wildlife, the trees, soils and habitat that absorb carbon and access to greenspaces and the countryside. Creating a more resilient place for communities and businesses to thrive.

Jack Spees, Chief Executive of Ribble Rivers Trust and Chair of the relaunched LNP said that the current challenges facing the country should be seen as opportunities to support a green recovery that will benefit all who live and work in Lancashire.

“I am excited by the prospects that the Lancashire LNP has to offer, and believe coming together will build a momentum, and achieve a unity, that will be key for us all in delivering great things for our county, and its communities – both environmentally, socially and economically – something at this time we all desperately want and need.”

Tim Mitchem, from the Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, said the launch is timely as Lancashire is currently developing a new strategic plan.

“The Wildlife Trust is delighted to be involved in the launch of Lancashire’s Local Nature Partnership. The County really needs a forum to discuss the environment at this crucial time. The climate and biodiversity emergencies we face need urgent action and the Partnership is the ideal place to bring everyone together to plan and act for a more sustainable future.

“Wildlife plays a crucial role in the systems that sustain us – cleaning the water we drink, providing the raw materials for everyday life, producing healthy nourishing food for us to eat and recycling our waste. Society needs to bolster these natural systems for the benefit of future generations. The partnership’s members are the best people to plan a new future for Lancashire – local solutions delivered locally.

“There are many great wildlife and environment projects being delivered already, but this new Partnership will help to achieve more by sharing knowledge, joint bidding for resources, and a shared vision.”

Professor Carly Stevens, a plant ecologist and soil biogeochemist at the Lancaster Environment Centre, is academic lead of the LNP. She believes universities can play a key role in providing the evidence needed to improve policy, and by collaborating on research projects with other partners to make them more relevant to the locality.

“It provides us with opportunities to link partners with our brilliant students for placements and projects and involves mechanisms for partners to get involved in research bids at an early stage so they can really make a difference in steering the direction of the project.”

To mark the launch, a selection of LNP members have recorded video messages about their hopes and aspirations. The films will be posted on the Lancaster University’s Faculty of Science and Technology’s YouTube channel: youtube.com

Contact Barry Simons for more information about the Lancashire Local Nature Partnership at [email protected]

Lancashire LNP Partners include:
Lancaster University, the Ribble Rivers Trust, the Wyre and the Lune Rivers Trusts, Lancashire Wildlife Trust, RSPB, the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust, the National Farmers’ Union, United Utilities, all of Lancashire’s local authorities, Natural England, the Environment Agency, The Forestry Commission, the Marine Management Organisation, Chambers of Commerce, the Lancashire LEP, UCLAN, Edge Hill University and DEFRA.