Cumbria Local Nature Recovery Network (CLNRN)

For supporting Cumbria Local Nature Recovery Strategy - Pilot Scheme
Cumbria County Council 
June, 2021

Cumbria Local Nature Recovery Strategy Pilot Scheme

To test and help guide the development of Local Nature Recovery Strategies (LNRS), as outlined in the Environment Act 2020 and the 25 Year Environment Plan (2018), from October 2020 to May 2021 Defra has been working with five areas across England to test the LNRS concept and processes. Cumbria County Council were commissioned by Defra to lead a partnership through the process of developing a LNRS. A draft LNRS was submitted to Defra in May 2021, however this is just a provisional output and will be further developed after the Environment Act is passed, and full guidance has been produced, hopefully early in 2022.

The purpose of the LNRS is to work with people across Cumbria to identify priority outcomes for Nature Recovery and measures by which these could be delivered. A core part of the LNRS is to create a map which identifies where actions could be undertaken to restore and link up habitats so that species can thrive, and agree the best places to help nature recover, mitigate flood risk through natural flood management, help mitigate climate change and create more wildlife-rich areas for people to enjoy. 

 

“Cumbria’s Local Nature Recovery Strategy belongs to the people who live, work and visit Cumbria, and once the Environment Act becomes law everyone will be given a further opportunity to help develop the draft LNRS. Once in place the LNRS will help everyone – from the designated landscapes and large conservation partnerships, to farmers, local businesses and community groups – to identify how they can play their part in bringing about nature recovery in Cumbria and help create a Nature Recovery Network which will extend across the whole of the country.”

Habitat Mapping

Cumbria Biodiversity Data Centre (CBDC) and the Cumbria Local Nature Partnership (CLNP) worked on and developed both a Cumbria Habitat Basemap, which shows existing habitat distribution to the best of our knowledge, and a Cumbria Habitat Networks Map, which identifies opportunities for creating linkages between existing habitat areas. Eventually these maps will be used as the ‘Spatial Plan’ or ‘Local Habitat Map’ within Cumbria’s Local Nature Recovery Strategy and will also help to guide the development of Cumbria’s Nature Recovery Network. Currently, the mapping design is supported by a range of local wildlife and farming organisations.

The Habitat Basemap and Habitat Network Maps will continue to be developed and improved over the coming months, including work to link them with other useful ‘nature’ mapping and to make them more accessible to all users.  For more information please download the mapping guidance note and the CLNRN guidance note to local authority.

Stages of the Mapping Approach:
 

The mapping work had three main stages: Auditing, Mapping and Modelling.

Auditing – The CLNP worked both with partners across Cumbria and with national organisations to identify existing habitat datasets. In this way the LNRS mapping work was based on the best available evidence. Data collated from partners was then subjected to a thorough check by CBDC which looked at the suitability and quality of the data, and checked that the data was fit for purpose. Where necessary data was then reclassified so that all data was aligned with the UK Priority Habitat classification.

Cumbria LNR Habitat Basemap

Mapping – The Cumbria Habitat map has been developed from a range of national (including Natural England and Forestry Commission) and local datasets. In all it includes 37 layers of habitat data that provide information on the different habitat types and where they are found across Cumbria. The maps will help you identify what habitats are found in your area, or on your land. 

Please note that we do not have up-to-date habitat data for much of Cumbria, and some habitats (such as scrub) have not been systematically surveyed. Therefore the maps will not be 100% accurate and therefore should only be used as a guide. Where in doubt areas/habitats should be checked by survey. In addition it should be noted that smaller scale wildlife/habitat features, for example flower-rich roadside verges may not be shown on the maps.

Habitat Mapping Update

To ensure we produce mapping systems which work for you we would welcome feedback on how useful you find the current maps for your purposes and what changes/additions could be added to increase their usefulness. 

If you have new habitat data which could be included on the map please contact CBDC: https://www.cbdc.org.uk/contact-us/  to confirm the data sharing and data formats. Further guidance on this will be developed soon.

Basemap Interactive Map

The habitat basemap interactive map was developed to enhance access to the mapping habitat data.  You can use the interactive map to browse the different habitat layers (e.g. hay meadows, woodlands etc.).

Please note that some habitats need to zoom in to be able to find them on the map. Also, depending on the speed of your internet you may need to give a time for  all the mapping habitats to be downloaded. The map best browsed using ‘Firefox’ browser.

Cumbria LNR Habitat Networks

Modelling – The Cumbria Habitat Networks have been created using Natural England’s England Habitat Network model. This uses the Cumbria Habitat Basemap and then identifies specific areas, zones or networks where we should aim to take action for nature.

Please note these Habitat Networks are based on the best available data (which is not 100% accurate) and are computer models not as yet checked on the ground. They therefore should only be used as a guide to where we should look for opportunities to restore and create habitats. There may be several different options suggested for each area of land, and there may be species using the land whose needs must also be considered. Therefore decisions should only be made following on-the-ground checks supported by expert advice.

The Habitat Network maps are made up of 8 components:

EXISTING IMPORTANT HABITAT AREAS – These are wildlife habitats which need to be Conserved, Enhanced or Restored.

  1. Primary Habitats – habitats identified on the Cumbria Habitat Basemap
  2. Associated Habitats – other habitats also used by wildlife using the Primary Habitat
  3. Habitat Restoration/Creation Areas – areas identified as currently being restored/created
  4. Restorable Habitats – existing habitats which could be restored to a more wildlife-rich state

HABITAT NETWORK AREAS:

  1. Fragmentation Action Zone – where habitat restoration and creation will be of greatest help in connecting existing fragmented habitats to develop a habitat network (note this zones is within Network Enhancement Zone 1)
  2. Network Enhancement Zone 1 – where actions (habitat restoration and creation) to help join up habitat and create a network should be targeted
  3. Network Enhancement Zone 2 – land which may be less suitable for habitat creation but where other actions to increase biodiversity will help to join up other habitats
  4. Network Expansion Zone – Wider zones where habitat restoration and creation will support the habitat networks
Networks Interactive Map

The Cumbria Habitat Networks comprise a series of individual habitat network maps plus two ‘Combined Habitat Networks’ maps. You can browse any of these networks using the Cumbria Habitat Networks interactive map. Once again please note that these maps shown potential habitat options and not prescriptions for individual pieces of land.

Using the Network Interactive Map:

Similar to the Habitat Basemap, the network interactive map has a set of  tools which help you to browse and locate habitat networks in your area. By default the network interactive map shows only the Cumbria boundary.

Internet speed

Depending on the speed of your internet you may need to give a time for  all the mapping habitat networks to be downloaded. The map best browsed using ‘Firefox’ browser.

Habitat Networks Download
Interpretation of the Network Colour Scheme:

If you are interested in finding out more about how the Habitat Networks have been identified please download the National Habitat Network Maps User Guidance.

You can download the maps in .pdf format and you can also browse the habitat networks on Google Earth using .kmz files.

Please make sure you download the Google Earth application on your PC.