Views sought on plan to protect and enhance nature
Residents are being asked for their views on West Oxfordshire District Council’s plan for biodiversity and nature recovery, as it launches a consultation on its new Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP).
The BAP which will run to 2030 seeks to enhance nature radically, its positive impact on our climate and the priority it’s given, helping to make West Oxfordshire a place where people and nature thrive.
Councillor Andrew Prosser, Executive Member for Climate Change said, “Our vision is that by 2030 residents, landowners, town and parish councils and community groups will come together to help improve habitats that promote biodiversity and support plants and animals to thrive as a result.
“We have aimed for an ambitious plan that captures the priorities of our community, but we do need to know if residents agree with our priorities, the areas we are focussing on and whether there is anything we haven’t captured that will be key to delivering our vision.
“I urge residents to participate in this consultation and help us meet our biodiversity and nature recovery ambitions, which also tie into our wider aims of carbon neutrality by 2050.”
We will aim to protect and enhance biodiversity on council-owned and managed land. The Council owns and manages approximately 106 hectares of green space, which includes parks, fields, greens and public open spaces within housing estates. Although work has been done to improve these sites for wildlife and people in recent years, there is more that can be done to protect and restore habitats and species across our land.
The plan sets out how we will safeguard biodiversity through policies and development. Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) is a new approach to housing development that aims to leave nature in a better state than it was beforehand on a site. A 10% improvement will be mandatory for major schemes from January 2024. The Council’s planning teams are working to ensure BNG is delivered and monitored effectively through the planning system
We will facilitate communities and partnerships in the district for landscape-scale recovery. We have a wealth of local environmental groups and knowledge that we can potentially link with, to develop and deliver existing and new nature initiatives across the district. By collaborating with groups, and facilitating wider action, opportunities for the restoration of natural ecosystems, improve habitat connectivity, and implement nature-based solutions to help mitigate climate change can be maximised.
The consultation begins on Monday 27 November and finishes on Friday 22 December and can be accessed at https://yourvoice.westoxon.gov.uk/en-GB/projects/biodiversity-plan?hasAccess=true