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Nature recovery

Nature recovery

Nature is threatened by climate change, habitat loss, species decline and the threat of invasive species as never before. In July 2019 we recognised that we face an ecological emergency and agreed to support the aim of doubling nature in South Cambridgeshire.

Our Doubling Nature Strategy [PDF, 3MB] sets out our approach to supporting this aim. It is accompanied by our Zero Carbon and Doubling Nature Action Plan [PDF, 0.2MB], which lists 12 actions we are taking to increase and enhance nature across our estate and the wider district. Progress on these actions is reported to our Climate and Environment Advisory Committee every 6 months.

Development is one of the greatest threats to nature, but can also deliver gains for nature. The Greater Cambridge Biodiversity Supplementary Planning Document [PDF, 12.5MB], adopted in February 2022, provides practical advice and guidance on how to develop proposals which avoid harm, and provide a long-term measurable net gain for biodiversity. We are working on a new joint Local Plan with Cambridge City Council, which will update and strengthen policies to increase nature, wildlife and green spaces.  

Our Greater Cambridge Shared Planning team includes ecology and tree specialists. You can find information about this on our trees and hedgerows page.

Many of our objectives to increase nature are achieved by work with partners. We are members of our Local Nature Partnership, Natural Cambridgeshire, which brings together public bodies, conservation and wildlife organisations, and businesses to support nature.

All public bodies, including parish councils, have a statutory duty to have regard to conserving biodiversity. The Government has published some guidance on the GOV.UK website.

We use peat-free compost on our own estate, on our housing estate and for our landscaping works.

More generally, parish councils and communities have a vital role to play in nature recovery. 

Natural Cambridgeshire's Local Nature Recovery Toolkit provides excellent advice, support and signposting on how to do this.

We are always looking to support the work of local partners, including the Cambridge Nature Network. Find out a bit more about their work in the video below.

We encourage and support this work:

  • Our Community Chest provides grants of up to £2,000 for projects which support biodiversity. These grants are available to not-for-profit organisations and parish councils
  • Our Community-Led Plan Toolkit sets out how to include Local Nature Recovery Plans and Parish Council Biodiversity Policies in a Community-Led Plan
  • Our Zero Carbon Communities grant funds tree-planting and other projects which tackle climate change
  • Our Six Free Trees project provides free trees to parish councils
  • Our Zero Carbon Communities programme supports community action in various ways including webinars and a newsletter


Biodiversity is used to describe the richness of the living environment around us. It encompasses all living organisms from simple plants to large whales. Maintaining a rich diversity of species on our planet is crucial for future generations.

Case Studies

We are compiling case studies of excellent examples of nature recovery carried out in, and by, our communities. 

Firstly we are looking at the fantastic work done in Cottenham 

Helpful advice on wildlife issues and development proposals

Below you will find some useful information that we have collated from other websites and some of our own documentation.

Our documents

Building with Nature

Building with nature has been designed to support the creation of high quality green infrastructure throughout the planning process. It is currently mainly aimed at large developments with a vision to provide further guidance for small developments.

Natural England

Natural England - information on rights of way, land management, wildlife and habitat conservation, and useful maps

Pond management

Fresh water habitats website - advice on species of animals and their habitats

Further information:

Wildlife Crime

  • If you witness a wildlife crime taking place, call 999.
  • For a non-emergency, call 101.
  • If you would like to give information regarding a crime anonymously, call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
  • If possible, give information on: 
    • what is happening
    • the exact location (a map reference or local landmark can be useful)
    • the date and time of the incident
    • who is involved (for example, number of people, clothing worn, tools being carried, or any dogs)
    • the make, colour and registration number of any vehicle
    • if it is safe to do so, take photos which may be used as evidence and remember to ask the police for an incident number

Wildlife crime reduces the number of rare animals and plants, pushing them closer to extinction. It can cause animals pain and suffering and can be linked to other serious crimes, like drugs, money laundering and firearms offences.

Examples of crime include:

  • badger, raptor and bat persecution
  • illegal trade in CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species)
  • poaching/coursing
  • theft or disturbance of wild birds, their eggs and/or nests
  • theft of disturbance of wild animals, plants and habitats
  • animal cruelty
  • introduction of invasive species and hunting with dogs