Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Independent Economic Strategy

The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority have recently launched their economic strategy for the area.  As well as recognising that it will be vital that “new development is done not just well, but in an exemplary fashion. It also acknowledges the need for “good place making which demonstrates that if transport and new housing are well-planned, then economic, social and environmental benefits can all be achieved.

Natural Cambridgeshire is working with the Combined Authority to ensure that the benefits of a high quality natural environment and green infrastructure is an important factor in attracting people to live and work in the area.

 

Developing with Nature Toolkit

The Natural Cambridgeshire Local Nature Partnership (LNP) wishes to enhance the natural environment of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough and to see all developments contribute to our policy objective of achieving a net gain in biodiversity through new development.

Greater Cambridgeshire is one of the fastest growing areas within England, with plans for significant additional development and major infrastructure to provide tens of thousands of new homes and significant new employment opportunities over the coming decades. The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) promotes sustainable development, which requires moving from net losses in biodiversity to net gains and for development to enhance the natural environment, including natural capital or ecosystem services.

Our natural environment underpins our economy and our wellbeing by providing wide-ranging benefits such as clean water and air, food, timber, carbon capture, flood protection and recreation. However, the natural environment is increasingly constrained due to the ongoing impacts of climate change. Natural vegetation, ponds and lakes provide natural cooling in urban environments, trees can help reduce localised air pollution, and high quality greenspaces provide access to nature and have been shown to have multiple benefits for physical and mental health.

New developments which adhere to sound sustainability principles ensure the protection and enhancement of this natural capital by creating high quality multifunctional habitats that support common, threatened and, or declining species. The provision of on-site and wider landscape-scale high quality natural environments also enhances the new development and attracts additional investments. Conversely, new developments neglecting this approach, diminishes both the quantity and quality of the natural environment, its biodiversity and the essential benefits and services these provide.

We’ve developed a Toolkit to help developers and infrastructure providers to demonstrate their commitment to achieving a net biodiversity gain to the public, local authorities or shareholders. The Toolkit comprises a simple list of 10 Things to do for Nature. The Toolkit is primarily intended for major developments requiring an Environmental Impact Assessment (new settlements, major urban extensions, housing developments above 100 dwellings, commercial developments greater than 1 Ha or 1,000m² floor space, mixed use developments greater than 2 Ha, or major transport infrastructure projects). It should be used at the very outset of planning new developments, and ideally at the time of selecting sites to acquire for development.

A natural future for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough

Where nature thrives, it provides us with clean water, fertile and healthy soils, natural flood control, greater biodiversity, natural pollinators and much more. Also, places with accessible, wildlife rich green-spaces attract more people to work and live there, improve health and wellbeing and provide leisure and recreation opportunities.

Our vision values the wildlife we have now and the tremendous opportunities presented to build a richer natural environment with benefits for everyone. Working together, we have the means to create that future.

Despite losses, nature is returning and there are wonderful wildlife sights in Cambridgeshire see the Ten reasons to value our natural environment throughout our new booklet.

Natural Cambridgeshire business plan

Natural Cambridgeshire are pleased to announce the launch of our new business plan, kindly supported with a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. It sets out and ambition and realistic plan for improving the natural environment of Cambridgeshire & Peterborough for the next three years.

We want to see “a Cambridgeshire that has the highest quality of life, because we place nature at the heart of our agenda. A Cambridgeshire which appreciates that to prosper people need a high quality environment in which nature thrives alongside jobs and housing.”

The business plan for the Natural Cambridgeshire:

  • draws agreed direction and preferred options from the Board workshop
  • sets out the organisation’s governance arrangements
  • relates the activities to the outcomes and Vision the LNP is aiming to achieve and meeting clear customer needs
  • sets out a single LNP work programme that aligns existing work streams with HLF funded work outcomes, using the remaining HLF funding efficiently and gaining best value
  • focuses on communication, marketing and funding requirements, and
  • identifies ways for monitoring and measuring success, through qualitative and quantitative indicators, specifying outputs, outcomes and impacts.

Heritage Lottery Fund grant to put nature at the heart

The Heritage Lottery Fund has awarded us a £10,000 grant to support and develop the work of the LNP. We will use the money to support our work across Cambridgeshire & Peterborough, putting nature and people at the heart of the decision-making process.

This money will help us to develop a business plan, identify sustainable funding options and run a programme of  events to listen to and work with local residents, business, farmers and developers to seek their ideas and views on how we can ensure the natural environment is protected and benefits alongside the ongoing growth agenda.