Thursday, 6 October 2016

State of Nature: calls to review County Environment Policy >>> "There is so much we can do in Devon."

Last month, the annual State of Nature report was published:
Futures Forum: State of Nature: "intensive management of agricultural land had by far the largest negative impact"

There has been reaction at County Council level:

Nature and wildlife fears in Devon: ‘We’re on a knife edge’

29 September 2016 Beth Sharp

Warnings of a potential nature and wildlife ‘catastrophe’ have prompted a motion calling for Devon County Council (DCC) to take action ‘before it is too late’.

Councillor Claire Wright will put a proposal before the authority at its full meeting on Thursday.

It comes following the release of the Government’s State of Nature report, which revealed there was a ‘significant and potentially catastrophic’ national trend in the decline of the insect and wildlife - with some species heading towards extinction.

Cllr Wright claimed the sharp decline in certain species suggested collective efforts being made across the country were still not enough to prevent the worsening position. She is calling for DCC’s Environment Policy document, written in 2014/15, to be reviewed before the end of this year.

Cllr Wright said a lot had happened since the policy was written and, although it had a positive and wide-ranging set of objectives, many species and trees had dramatically declined since then and the impact of the EU referendum needed to be considered.

She added that the aim of the review would be to see if the authority could do anything more to help the nature in Devon thrive.

The motion proposes a review of the management of county farm estates where there are uncertainties linked to Brexit, which may mean they will 
need to find other ways of achieving environmental gains through those who work on the land.

And it will also look at the management of council buildings and grounds, including places like the Grade II listed County Hall, which is set within a conservation area.

It will also look at the use of the multi-use trails, like cycleways, which have the potential to become wildlife corridors.

The motion also seeks to review the council’s community leadership role, such as with the redefining of its environmental agenda in the light of Brexit and in responding to current environmental problems such as ash dieback.

Cllr Wright said: “I think we need to do something before it is too late. It feels like we are on a knife edge and councils can play a big part in encouraging species to thrive.

“I think DCC has done some good work and it has been working to improve things, but I think the report highlights the catastrophic situation we are in. There are so many species that are looking at dying out altogether and there is so much we can do in Devon.

“I’m sure there are more things we can do to encourage more insects, which will in turn benefit the entire food chain.”

Nature and wildlife fears in Devon: ‘We’re on a knife edge’ - News - Midweek Herald

The motion was presented earlier today at the full County Council meeting:
Agenda for Council on Thursday, 6th October, 2016, 2.15 pm | Democracy in Devon

... but has now been deferred to the next Cabinet meeting for consideration:
Council - Thu, 6th Oct 2016 - 2:15 pm - Devon County Council Webcasting

This is the full motion and report from Cllr Wright:
Disastrous nature report prompts motion to review council environment plan - Claire Wright

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