Issue - meetings

Plan for Nature

Meeting: 18/09/2023 - Community Overview and Scrutiny Panel (Item 24)

24 Plan for Nature pdf icon PDF 334 KB

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Councillor Yates – Portfolio Holder for Climate Change and Environment, introduced a report on the Plan for Nature. This was accompanied by a presentation given by Staffordshire Wildlife Trust.


The Plan for Nature was an opportunity to strategically enhance the natural capital and ecosystem services in Staffordshire Moorlands. Without a strategic, managed approach, good projects could happen, but with limited ability to make the most of opportunities and deliver qualitative, structured outcomes.


The Council developed a Green Infrastructure Strategy in 2018 to support development of the Local Plan. The strategy aimed to provide strategically planned networks designed to link existing (and proposed) green  spaces with green corridors running through towns, villages and rural areas. The maintenance, enhancement and extension of these networks could deliver multi-functional benefits for local communities, businesses, visitors and the environment. However, although it was a helpful and detailed document, the strategy lacked a clear delivery mechanism. The Plan for Nature aimed to fill this gap by translating the Green Infrastructure Strategy into distinct actions, projects and workstreams to embed in operations and support with adoption though communities and other local stakeholders.


The Plan for Nature was intended to guide the actions that need to be taken to halt and reverse the decline of the natural world across the district by 2050. Data has been drawn together on the current state of nature within the district and offered recommendations on how and where conservation efforts should be prioritised. It contained targets and a timescale for different actions and interventions to ensure the authority could track and measure its progress on an annual basis. Key stakeholders had been involved in the development of the plan, and would also play a vital role in delivering and monitoring its implementation.


The projects and programmes initiated through the plan would support the new Local Authority duties as set out in the Environment Act 2021. These included reporting of biodiversity plans and initiating and recording Biodiversity Net Gain requirements linked to planning applications.


The Biodiversity Net Gain duty places a requirement on certain developments to improve biodiversity by 10% compared to prior to the development. This could be on site or off site but must be managed and monitored for 30 years. Mechanisms to insure compliance will need to be developed.


The Plan for Nature suggested the following overarching vision for the district:


“In 2050 the Staffordshire Moorlands will be a district where nature has recovered to sustainable levels. Formerly declining habitats and species have been restored; both town and countryside are resilient to climate change, and everyone can access and engage with nature on their doorsteps.”


The presentation included the following subject area:-

·       Reason for a Plan for Nature?

·       Our vision

·       Overview of the Plan for Nature

·       Targets

·       Next steps


Members commented that they were pleased the Council had a plan and ambitious targets. Discussion took place around biodiversity net gain, use of nature recovery network mapping, expansion of volunteer friends groups, recovery of species and proactive planning policies.


SWT were  ...  view the full minutes text for item 24