Cornwall Council’s work on boosting nature recovery through its planning policies has been recognised in a national report.

UK100, a network of influential local authority leaders across the country, has published Powers in Place: Nature, highlighting the strategies councils are using to protect and enhance wildlife, restore biodiversity and tackle the ecological emergency.

It singles out Cornwall Council’s Climate Emergency Development Plan Document for promoting efficient land use, protecting habitats and ecosystems.

The report praises the planning policy’s focus on soil health and its potential to increase biodiversity and enhance carbon storage in the natural environment.

It also highlights Cornwall’s work to sustain the rural economy through its strong agricultural and food-producing heritage as well as its commitment to maintaining the environment while reducing carbon emissions.

The report goes on to commend the Forest for Cornwall programme for encouraging landowners, businesses and communities to plant trees and woodlands as part of the authority’s climate and ecological emergency response.

Cllr Olly Monk, portfolio holder for housing and planning at Cornwall Council said: “It is never a quick win or easy to produce planning policy, but I am proud that our new policies are driving change.

“We have worked hard to create a plan that is as ambitious as possible, but still allows development that provides vitally important new homes and business to be realised in a viable, sound and practical way. We have also worked to support other councils to realise their ambition by sharing our experience and evidence.

“Putting in place these policies provides us with tangible gains, whilst maintaining the impetus for change and we will use these policies and the experience we have gained to ensure that our next local plan continues the drive to carbon neutrality and resilient communities.”

Cllr Martyn Alvey, Cornwall’s portfolio holder for environment and climate change and a member of UK100, said: “We’re pleased that our commitment to reversing the decline of nature and protecting the environment has been recognised in this national report showcasing the vital work of councils in this field.  

“As we start work to develop our Local Nature Recovery Strategy with landowners, communities and businesses across Cornwall we want to hear about their views on what, where and how nature can be recovered across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. Our public survey and interactive map are live until October 22 and we want to invite everyone to have their say and shape the next phase of our vital work in this area.”

Cllr Richard Clewer, chair of UK100's Countryside Climate Network and leader of Wiltshire Council, added: "Local authorities are crucial to bringing our natural world back from the brink. Our planning teams, highways officers, rangers and volunteers are all vital in protecting our wildlife and making space for nature to recover and thrive."