a local authority
Why does biodiversity matter?Biodiversity is vital to our well-being and key to quality of life. A healthy and stable environment is central to economic prosperity and your area’s desirability as a place to live, work and visit (taken from Hampshire County Councils BAP). There is also a legal obligation to conserve biodiversity as stated in the NERC Act (2006); "every public authority must, in exercising its functions, have regard, so far as is consistent with the proper exercise of those functions, to the purpose of conserving biodiversity. Conserving biodiversity includes, in relation to a living organism or type of habitat, restoring or enhancing a population or habitat."
The Biodiversity Duty
Section 40 of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities (NERC) Act 2006 places a duty on Local Authorities to consider biodiversity in the full range of their activities. It is a legal requirement that:
"Every public body must, in exercising its functions, have regard, so far as is consistent with the proper exercise of those functions, to the purpose of conserving biodiversity".
For further information please see the Policy page
What can you do?
Given the breadth of their services, local authorities have many opportunities for enhancing biodiversity. Targeting and coordinating conservation work is key to meeting biodiversity objectives.
Adopting a Corporate Biodiversity Action Plan as Hampshire County Council have can help coordinate conservation work and achieve delivery of biodiversity objectives.
Targeted biodiversity action is widely seen as the best mechanism for achieving the maximum benefits so local authorities could identify opportunity areas and target biodiversity action by carrying out some or all of following steps:
- Coordinate work with other stakeholders in the biodiversity and conservation sector (e.g.LBAP partnerships)
- Identify and protect local wildlife sites (Local Area Agreements National Indicator 197)
- Incorporate the Biodiversity Opportunity Areas into plans and strategies (Biodiversity Opportunity Areas Map)
- Carry out and fund work in opportunity areas (e.g. Trust for Oxfordshire's Environment)
- Develop Green infrastructure
- Ensure that the land management carried out by the Local Authority supports biodiversity
Work can be funded and carried out in several ways:
- Planning obligations (e.g. section 106 agreements)
- Minerals restoration
- Higher Level Stewardship
- Landfill Communities Fund (such asSITA Trust and WREN)
- Conservation charities and volunteer projects
Other areas within a Local Authority work which can have a positive impact on biodiversity and help deliver strategic biodiversity objectives are:
For further resources and other relevant web addresses please see the website resource page.