Communities invited to help shape Berkshire’s blueprint for nature recovery

Communities across Berkshire are invited to participate in workshops and a county-wide survey to help shape important plans for protecting and improving natural habitats in the county.

Berkshire’s six councils, led by the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead, are keen to involve residents, landowners, NGOs, developers, community groups and others to create a Local Nature Recovery Strategy for the county during 2024.

Funded by DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs) as part of a wider national nature recovery project, the resultant blueprint for Berkshire’s nature recovery will be a nature map of opportunities, as well as a list of biodiversity priorities.

It will prioritise where time and investment are most needed to improve, protect, or enlarge habitats, create wildlife corridors, or create new habitats on land or around watercourses. It will support joint working around nature recovery and focus the decisions, expertise and investment of many individuals and partner organisations, alongside helping to inform and support funding bids for specific projects.

Following valuable conversations with farmers, landowners, land managers, the project team is hosting a community workshop in each Berkshire area, alongside a county-wide survey, to involve residents, community groups, charities, businesses, schools, colleges and others in shaping the strategy.

•    Royal Borough Windsor & Maidenhead: Braywick Nature Centre, 8 April, 9.30am -12.30pm
•    Bracknell Forest: Foxes Den Café, Binfield Community Centre, 10 April, 5:30 –8:30pm
•    Slough: Salt Hill Activity Centre, 16 April, 11am -2pm
•    Wokingham: Maiden Place, Earley, 20 April, 10am -1pm
•    West Berkshire: Corn Exchange, Hungerford Town Hall, 23 April, 12-3pm
•    Reading: Dee Space Community Centre, 25 April, 12-3pm
•    Online workshop (Berkshire-wide): Zoom, 30 April, 6.30 – 8pm

The workshops are a chance to find out more about the project and how you can get more involved in supporting nature locally, to celebrate the good work already happening locally and share your knowledge, insights and priorities. Places at the in-person workshops are limited (two people max per organisation) – to register an interest in attending, visit EventBrite, or for those unable to register online, call Braywick Nature Centre on 01628 777440.

You can also share your thoughts in the survey until Tuesday 7 May. If you don’t have online access, you are welcome to use the public-access computers available at local libraries. Paper copies of the survey form are also available from all libraries upon request.

Councillor Karen Davies, RBWM Cabinet member for climate change and biodiversity, said: “This is a great opportunity to get involved in influencing Berkshire’s blueprint for nature recovery, which once finalised will help protect and improve vital natural habitats for the benefit of wildlife, people and the environment we share.

“We’re already speaking with farmers, landowners and larger organisations involved in nature, climate, and biodiversity action. However we know local communities and community groups have important on-the-ground knowledge, experience and ideas that come from living, working or volunteering in their areas.

“Through the workshops and survey, there’s genuine scope for you to influence how Berkshire works together to contribute to the national nature recovery, to connect with other passionate individuals and groups, to find new activities, or to amplify what you already do and share your vision.

“We want Berkshire’s Local Nature Recovery Strategy to be a really collaborative, inclusive and locally-led process, so please register for one of the workshops and/or participate in the survey. Ideally, register to the event in your borough, but you are welcome to attend whichever is most convenient for you."

Published: 12 March 2024