Local Nature Reserves (LNRs) 

Local Nature Reserve (LNR) is a statutory designation made under Section 21 of the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act, 1949 in England, Wales and Scotland. In Northern Ireland the powers to designate LNRs are contained in Article 22 of the Nature Conservation and Amenity Lands (Northern Ireland) Order 1985.  

LNRs can be declared by all local authorities and by Town and Parish Councils where the powers to do so have been delegated to them by the principal local authority. In Wales, CCW makes the declaration based on recommendations from local authorities. To establish a LNR, the declaring authority must: 

  • Have a legal interest in the land i.e. own the freehold, have a leasehold or have a formal management agreement with the landowner (e.g. a Management Agreement under Section 39 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981)
  • Ensure that the land is within its administrative area or where it overlaps with an adjacent local authority, have the full agreement of that authority. 

In England, Natural England advises that land considered for LNR declaration should meet the following criteria: 

  • Should normally be greater than 2ha in size;
  • Should be capable of being managed with the conservation of nature and/or the enjoyment or research of nature, as the priority concern;
  • Should be of high natural interest in the local context (e.g. a Local or Regional Site of Importance ), or
  • Of reasonable natural interest and of high value locally for formal education or research, or
  • Of reasonable natural interest and high value locally for the informal enjoyment of nature by the public.
In England there are 1280 LNRs covering some 40,000 hectares
In Scotland there are 55 LNRs covering 10,000 hectares
In Wales there are 71 LNRs 
In Northern Ireland there are 13 LNRs


Find out more about LNR’s: 

LNRs in England

LNRs in Scotland

LNRs in Wales

LNRs in Northern Ireland