The Nature Recovery and Climate Resilience Playbook

This toolkit is designed to empower local authorities and planning officers to enhance climate resilience and better protect nature across their local area.
Canal path in Glasgow, Scotland

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November 14, 2022

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Policy & Advocacy

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The ‘Nature Recovery & Climate Resilience Playbook’ presents local authorities and planning officers with a comprehensive toolkit to enhance the sustainability of new and existing development, in order to support both biodiversity and climate resilience using nature-based solutions. It aims to promote a consistent, user-friendly approach to sharing best practice, that will enable authorities to benefit from shared learning, common resources, and mutual confidence; whilst also providing stability for industry around the requirements expected from it across different parts of the country.

This resource has been designed to be used and adapted to support the ‘day job’ of officers, as well as elected members with responsibility for sustainability, planning and regeneration within different authorities. For example, it can be used to inform planning policy in relation to the new development, to enable positive engagement with developers who want to support an authority’s aspirations, as well as support local strategy development and target setting.

The Playbook demonstrates how protecting nature and enhancing resilience can, and should, be embedded into decision-making at every level within local government. It offers interventions at various levels of decision-making across housing and planning strategies, from cross boundary collaboration with neighbouring authorities to local planning policy. The toolkit also identifies a number of no-regrets planning interventions that can deliver immediate positive impact, such as requiring bee bricks, swift and bat boxes. It also illustrates how wider environmental and socio-economic objectives can be delivered across local areas through prioritising biodiversity.

Whilst local action to secure resilience and protect nature is critical, the Playbook also notes how local government’s ability to drive sustainable development in their area must be accompanied with stronger national policy. The Playbook therefore calls for strong national policy, which sets out clearly a future trajectory of escalating minimum standards – which local authorities can move in advance of, if they choose to, whilst maintaining consistency in terms of metrics and approach. The toolkit notes how a patchwork of different standards in different locations is challenging for developers, therefore attempts to balance the need for consistency with the need to enable local government to set suitably ambitious policy.