North Ayrshire’s Labour administration have approved a new 12 year Local Biodiversity Action Plan (LBAP) – but have stated the plan will be updated within the first few years.

That’s because the Labour Cabinet have instructed officers to include biodiversity in the local authorities’ climate emergency response.

The 2019-2031 LBAP has been developed by the North Ayrshire Biodiversity Partnership which includes the Scottish Wildlife Trust, Scottish Natural Heritage, the RSPB, South and West Scotland Environmental Information Centre and the Community of Arran Seabed Trust (COAST). Other groups, including Ardeer FRIENDS, have been involved in the plans development.

The actions within the first 3 years of the plan include an evidence-based biodiversity audit, new management regimes for roadside verges and hedgerows to improve habitat quality, enhancing and restoring natural floodplain habitats in the Garnock Connections Landscape Partnership Scheme and the promotion of biodiversity guidance to local businesses and schools.

The LBAP, which is required under statute, was approved by the Council’s Cabinet on Tuesday (14th May) but Council Leader Joe Cullinane has insisted that the LBAP is quickly updated as biodiversity will play a key role in reducing carbon emissions and tackling the climate emergency.

Speaking on the new LBAP, Councillor Jim Montgomerie, Cabinet Member for Place, said;

“A 12 year Local Biodiversity Action Plan will allow a focus on short, medium and long term biodiversity actions.

“The plan has been developed in partnership with a range of environmental groups and with valued input from local groups such as Ardeer FRIENDS. That input has helped develop a progressive plan to improve biodiversity and increase awareness including the facilitation of biodiversity education within the school curriculum.”

On the climate emergency, Council Leader Joe Cullinane said;

“Last week an international report stated that global biodiversity loss is as catastrophic to our planet as global warming with one million living species threatened with extinction.

“Biodiversity is interconnected with climate change – they cannot be tackled in isolation. We either effectively tackle both together or we tackle neither.

“I have made it clear that my administration will formally declare a climate emergency in the coming weeks and we have now stipulated that biodiversity must be included in our response.

“Scientific evidence suggests that nature based solutions could provide 40% of the reduction in carbon emissions our planet needs by 2030. That demonstrates why it is absolutely essential we connect our actions on biodiversity with wider actions aimed at tackling climate change.

“We do believe that this new Biodiversity Action Plan represents good progress but biodiversity will be included in the community debate we will undertake on the climate emergency. We have instructed officers that we will require an update to the biodiversity plan to be published following that climate debate in order to align our biodiversity work with a refreshed Sustainability and Climate Change Strategy that helps tackle the climate emergency.”


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