The Liverpool City Region (LCR) Ecological Network is an evidence base which comprises ecological and biodiversity information on the City Region’s natural assets. It’s purpose is to identify opportunities to enable better protection and management of those natural assets and at the same time, describes opportunities to create new natural assets.
The LCR Ecological Network comprises:
- A Core Biodiversity Area combining Designated Sites and Priority Habitats;
- Linear Features such as hedgerows, canal and rivers;
- Stepping Stone Sites i.e. ponds; and
- A Nature Improvement Area including 17 Focus Area profiles. When combined these Focus Areas form the LCR Nature Improvement Area (NIA) which provides a LCR-wide opportunity for the strategic delivery of biodiversity outcomes.
MEAS has led preparation of the LCR Ecological Network in very close dialogue and co-operation with planning colleagues in all the LCR Districts since 2008. This has been a substantial undertaking which has taken several years to reach this advanced stage. The relationship with Local Plan policies has been very carefully considered. Heads of Planning from all six LCR Local Authorities plus West Lancashire Borough Council approved the LCR Ecological Network as part of the evidence base for their Local Plans on 6 November 2015. This is a most welcome step forward.
An interactive map is available to view the spatial element of the LCR Ecological Network.
1. The LCR Ecological Network is being taken through District approval processes prior to being included within the District’s Local Plan evidence bases.
2. The NIA is not an allocation or a designation. The LCR NIA is a multi-use area, developed to support Local Planning and inform land management in the City Region. It is based upon a joint-evidence base and joint method. The NIA Focus Area profiles provide guidance where opportunities for ecological mitigation and compensation, habitat management and enhancement may be directed to help meet development needs of the LCR and provide benefits for biodiversity and resource efficiency.