Nature Recovery-2

New Nature Recovery Plan reveals ambitious vision for West Oxfordshire’s natural landscape

Nature recovery has been put at the top of West Oxfordshire District Council’s agenda as it agrees its Nature Recovery Plan, which will tackle the climate and ecological emergencies across the district up to 2030. 

Councillor Andrew Prosser, Executive Member for Climate Change, said:

“In West Oxfordshire, we're fortunate to be surrounded by some stunning natural landscapes, from grasslands and woodlands to wetlands, parkland, and agricultural land. These areas aren't just important to us; they're also vital for the array of wildlife that call them home. 

“However, like much of the country, our district has seen a decline in wildlife in recent decades, largely due to the impacts of climate change, habitat fragmentation through development and pollution on our natural habitats. 

 “Our goal is to protect and restore these precious landscapes through the steps outlined in our ambitious new plan. This plan has been shaped through valuable consultation with residents and groups, and is informed by national and local policies. 

“With a strong Nature Recovery Plan in place, we can work to protect and enrich biodiversity across the district, including council-owned and managed land, making West Oxfordshire a thriving place for both people and nature.” 

With approximately 106 hectares of greenspace under the Council’s care, comprising parks, fields, greens, and public spaces within housing estates, the Council recognises the need for ongoing efforts to enhance these areas for wildlife and public enjoyment. Whilst progress has been made in recent years on Council-owned sites, there's still much to be done to protect and restore habitats and species. The new plan will involve identifying areas of improvement in areas belonging to the Council, and determining how natural methods can be adopted to make them more resilient and help boost biodiversity. 

The plan will also continue to prioritise the improvement of biodiversity in planning and development processes. The Council is already taking steps to incorporate nature recovery into its planning system, with the adoption of Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG), a new approach to development that aims to leave nature in a better state than it was beforehand. A minimum 10% improvement has been mandatory for major schemes since February 2024, with the Council’s planning teams working hard to ensure BNG is delivered and monitored effectively. 

West Oxfordshire has a wealth of local environmental groups with the knowledge and experience to develop and deliver new and existing nature recovery initiatives. Collaboration, local networking and sharing of best practice will uncover opportunities to restore natural ecosystems, connect and expand habitats, and use natural methods to help tackle the effects of climate change on the district’s natural landscape. 

To support in the delivery of this new plan, the Council will welcome a Planning Ecologist and Nature Recovery Officers to work with partners, Town and Parish Councils and environmental groups on projects, and support events to boost community appreciation and enjoyment of the natural world. 

Contact Information

West Oxfordshire District Council Communications Team

[email protected]