Using local nature recovery network strategies to deliver Water Framework Directive objectives


Connecting habitat and aiding nature recovery tools (such as nature recovery networks (NRN), local nature recovery strategies (LNRS), biodiversity net gain (BNG)) are central to environmental policies.  These tools often have a broad focus looking at opportunities for nature recovery across habitats and cover a large spatial scale.  Opportunities to deliver catchment-scale water interventions that integrate water quality and quantity improvements into habitat connectivity, are often overlooked.

If multiple benefits are considered (rather than just biodiversity improvements), interventions could provide Water framework Directive (WFD) improvements too.  Understanding where opportunities are present for reconnecting freshwater habitats or managing water quality and quantity before it reaches the river network has the potential to provide catchment scale benefits for both people and nature.

What we are doing:

We will embed water outcomes into LNRS by demonstrating how water quality and quantity benefits can be delivered alongside nature recovery.

Strategic decision making will be based on and supported by evidence, leading to a more integrated approach to local authority planning that considers both nature recovery and catchment scale hydrological aspects.

To do this, we will assess current green space assets and how they can be utilised and help LNRS deliver additional water quality and quantity benefits.  Opportunities to integrate Local Plan and Places for Everyone strategic allocations within planning allocations will also be identified.

Evidence will include natural capital assessments to identify opportunities for specific interventions, and mapping of partnership activity and NRN strategy focus areas.

Guidance for how interventions and resources can be prioritised when developing LNRS plans will be provided, and interventions that give ecosystem service benefits will be recommended.  This will also include opportunities for connecting people with nature, citizen science and green prescribing.

A pipeline of projects that deliver a range of natural capital benefits will be developed.

Who else is involved?

Natural England, Environment Agency and local planning authorities.

Project location:

Cheshire or Greater Manchester – TBC.

Latest update:

Please check back later.


*Photo credit Dr Paul Thomas