Wilder Horsham District

Why take action?

Nature forms an integral part of the landscape that makes the Horsham District a special place and many people value wildlife for its own sake.

These natural assets, such as water, soil and landscape are often called Natural Capital. The value of these is sometimes expressed in financial terms, so the contribution that these assets provide and, therefore, the loss of these assets can be understood alongside economic gains.

Nature's Benefits

The decline of wildlife (a natural asset) provides a critical challenge because nature provides many benefits that are essential to us all. Some of these benefits are:

  • pollinating plants which give us food
  • filtering pollutants from the air and water
  • creating soil
  • capturing carbon by trees and soil (carbon is one of the main gases contributing to enhanced
    climate change)
  • providing products, such as timber and medicines;
  • reducing flood risk
  • contributing to health and wellbeing from being in natural surroundings and opportunities to exercise, such as walking and cycling
  • giving a sense of place, adding to the cultural heritage of the District

These benefits are all known as Ecosystems Services. Reversing the decline in wildlife ensures that natural assets are retained and that they can continue to provide these benefits.

Willow Emerald Damselfly on a twig

The benefits of this partnership with the Sussex Wildlife Trust

The Horsham District is under increasing pressure for development, to provide houses for current and future generations. Whilst development is necessary, it needs to ensure that the District retains and enhances its natural environment and the services that this provides. This partnership will, therefore, ensure that the opportunities to enhance wildlife in new developments form part of the overall vision for the District.

For example, it will link into a new approach known as biodiversity net gain. This seeks to ensure that wildlife is enhanced in new development.

On sites where this is not possible, developers would pay for the enhancement of other sites that would form part of the Nature Recovery Network.

The partnership will be at the forefront of this new approach to reversing the decline in wildlife. Government legislation and guidance is emerging on issues such as Nature Recovery Networks. This means that Wilder Horsham District programme will be well placed to maximise any new funding opportunities.

The Sussex Local Nature Partnership

We will also link to the work of the Sussex Local Nature Partnership which has recently adopted the Sussex Natural Capital Investment Strategy. This document, the result of cross sector collaboration (Local Authorities are currently represented at a county and unitary level) provides guidance and a shared framework for nature’s recovery in Sussex. This seeks to ensure that biodiversity is enhanced within new development sites, where this is not possible.

Wilder Horsham District will be able to draw on current thinking from the Sussex Local Nature Partnership to ensure it is linking biodiversity net gain, Nature Recovery Networks and Local Nature Recovery Strategies appropriately.