Nature Recovery Declaration

The Council recognises that:

Nature is in long term decline. With 41 per cent of wild species in decline nationally, and 15 per cent facing extinction. The requirement to take action to reverse this is urgent. We recognise that:

  • Nature provides us with vital support systems [‘ecosystem services’], and severe declines in biodiversity are undermining nature’s productivity and adaptability, posing excessive uncertainty for our economies and wellbeing
  •  A thriving natural environment underpins a healthy, happy, prosperous society
  • The impacts of climate change are contributing to nature’s decline, while restoring and protection of natural habitat provides a wide variety of cost-effective benefits to mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change
  • Many of our areas of work across the Borough have an impact on nature, and we have responsibilities to make decisions to protect and enhance

This Council further acknowledges that:

To address the nature crisis and aim to achieve the multiple environmental benefits that nature can bring to people, the ‘Bigger, Better, More and Joined-up’ principles of the 2010 Lawton Report - ‘Making Space for Nature’ - should be followed to help rebuild nature:

  • There must be more space given to wildlife
  • Existing wildlife spaces must be expanded
  • The quality of existing wildlife spaces should be improved by better habitat management
  • The connectivity between wildlife spaces must be enhanced

In order to support the recovery of nature across Stafford Borough, and in recognition of new obligations under the Environment Act 2021, this council commits to:

  1. Improve and protect the Borough’s habitats resilience to climate change, providing natural solutions to reduce carbon and manage flood risk, and sustaining vital ecosystems
  2. Prioritise the restoration of natural habitats in accordance with Stafford Borough’s Nature Recovery Network Map
  3. Formulate a tree planting policy which is underpinned by Nature Recovery Network mapping across the local authority area, pursuing a “right tree, right place” approach. Recognise that tree planting can be deleterious to habitat restoration and should only be planned on land with low ecological value/restoration potential
  4. Seek to manage council-owned land for the benefit of wildlife
  5. Embed nature’s recovery into all strategic plans and policy areas, not just those directly related to the environment. Ensure the Local Nature Recovery Strategy is well understood across the authority and complements other relevant plans and strategies
  6. Working with partners, demonstrate leadership by supporting and engaging with businesses, communities and the wider public to take action to put nature into recovery
  7. The Council designates the Councils Economic Development and Planning Cabinet Member as portfolio lead for Nature Recovery and also a lead officer to coordinate the council operations in relation to the ecological emergency
  8. Integrate the targets, objectives and outcomes of this motion with those outlined in the existing Climate Change and Green Recovery Strategy to ensure measures to tackle climate issues do not contravene the principles of enhancing biodiversity. The value of well managed heathland, wetland and other habitats of principal importance in sequestering carbon is of equal importance and must be acknowledged
  9. Where appropriate, and in accordance with the council’s Climate Change and Green Recovery Strategy, the council will invest in nature-based solutions to climate change in order to tackle the nature crisis and climate emergency together
  10. Support the development of a Staffordshire wide Local Nature Recovery Strategy, and through the recently commissioned Nature Recovery Network Mapping, develop a local evidence-based action plan including short and long-term targets for putting nature into recovery by 2040, in accordance with the council’s climate change obligations. Areas of focus will include:
    • Land management
    • Biodiversity
    • Roads and highways
    • Planning and development
    • Air quality
    • Transforming urban spaces
    • Health and wellbeing
    • People and communities
    • Education and awareness
  11. That the relevant Overview and Scrutiny Committee monitor the Local Nature Recovery work and the council’s action to support biodiversity and nature recovery on an annual basis
  12. Work closely with Stafford Borough’s partners via the recently formed Staffordshire Sustainability Board and other organisations to promote Local Nature Recovery

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