I believe a key factor in our proposals appears to be the legal responsibilities of councils for conserving biodiversity.
It was back in 1992 that governments attending the Rio Earth Summit agreed amongst other actions a "Convention on biological biodiversity" and the "Agenda 21". That led the UK Government to encourage local authorities to develop ways to put conservation into their policies. In 1998 our local district council published its own Biodiversity Action Plan ( BAP) which it said would be "a focal point for local action". Soon after, this in turn led to a "Strategy for Nature Conservation", which is undated but clearly produced soon after the BAP. It reads as a very strong declaration of intent to actually meet the clear need. The document can be read online at this link.
Meanwhile the UK Govt has been busy and has created legislation to impose a legal duty on councils to "have regard to the conservation of biodiversity".
In brief these include:
The Countryside and Rights of Way ( CRoW ) Act 2000
The Natural Environment and Rural Communities ( NERC) Act 2006
In an explantory note by the Wildlife Trusts this latter act now clearly defines parish councils as local authorities alongside district and county councils.
The scientific basis for these UK documents is the series of Local BAP's covering England and Wales. More about them can be found at the UK BAP web site. Click here.
Here is an extract from their home page:
"Welcome to the UKBAP website supporting the implementation of the UK Biodiversity Action Plan (UK BAP) on behalf of the UK Biodiversity Partnership and the UK Government
The UK BAP
- is the UK Government's response to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) signed in 1992
- describes the UK's biological resources
- commits a detailed plan for the protection of these resources
- has 391 Species Action Plans, 45 Habitat Action Plans and 162 Local Biodiversity Action Plans with targeted actions
- major reviews of the Priority Species and Habitats are underway, and the Targets for these priorities are complete."