Nature: local authorities duties and powers

We were commissioned by UK100 to research and write a sister chapter to Powers in Place. Our Nature chapter outlines the duties and powers local authorities have to deliver Nature Recovery. It covers the duties they must fulfil, including the Biodiversity Duty that every decision should consider, Local Nature Recovery Strategies and Biodiversity Net Gain. It outlines the various powers across local authority service areas for conserving, enhancing and expanding habitats and green spaces for nature to thrive.

The report also covers powers to provide people access to nature, educating and empowering them to benefit from nature. We outline the justice and equality issues – so many people don’t have green spaces nearby and the environment sector lacks diversity in its workforce – so the report outlines how local authorities are tackling these issues.

As new policies and programmes are developed to deliver commitments under the Environment
Act 2021, there are important lessons to be learned from the climate mitigation experience,
whereby stop-start and fragmented policy has meant that committed local authorities must work
extra-hard to deliver change. This should not be repeated for Nature Recovery.