Councillors support North Devon Biosphere Nature Recovery Plan

Nature Natural Habitats Pic

Councillors sitting on Torridge's Community and Resources committee have voted to endorse North Devon Biosphere's Nature Recovery Plan and accompanying declaration, which sets out their vision for nature in the area. The move will provide a logical alignment with Torridge Councils own Carbon, Environment and Biodiversity Plan, which was adopted earlier in the summer.

The Biosphere plan seeks to address the local loss of habitat, which has led to a significant measurable decline in many wildlife species in recent years. The focus is to restore existing habitats to good condition and with good connectivity between these areas rather than significant changes in land use. The signing of the declaration commits Torridge to join with other organisations to actively work towards fulfilling this vision.

The Plan identifies five key land types, which cover the majority of the area of northern Devon - Coast, Grassland and Arable, Towns and Villages, Trees, Woodlands and Hedges, Wetlands and Waterbodies. Priorities have been set under each land type, with lead organisations for each. The main area of contribution for District Councils such as Torridge will be within the Towns and Villages section. Some of this work is already underway such as a requirement for larger scale planning applications to consider and submit plans for a net gain (plus 10%) in biodiversity from any project, to offset any potential loss of habitat from the development.

As well as a commitment to endorsing the broader plan the additional signing of the declaration indicates a pledge to undertake specific actions. Some of these include nature-friendly management of public spaces and verges, and working with local communities to improve suitable habitats. There is also a commitment to incorporating biodiversity measures when formulating policy and procedures for all of the Council's services and processes.

Councillor Peter Hames - Lead Member for Climate Change said:

'In the past fifty years in the UK we have destroyed well over half of our biodiversity. Populations of birds, butterflies and wild flowers have been utterly devastated with the result that we have one of the worst records of biodiversity loss in the world. In this context the Nature Recovery Plan and Declaration are highly important initiatives designed to encourage the whole community and its organisations to work to reverse the tragic decline in UK wildlife. I look forward to our Council actively participating in this process."

9th September 2021