Great big green week 2022 logo above the picture of a triangular planet showing green landmass and blue ocean

Find out about Warwickshire County’s commitment to protecting and increasing the County’s varied biodiversity.

In the second part of Warwickshire County Council’s Great Big Green Week celebration, it is covering the topic of biodiversity and all the things that it is doing to support life – plant and animal – around the County.

Biodiversity is a term used to describe the variety of life in an area and refers to every living thing, including plants, bacteria, animals, and humans. Biodiversity is essential for the processes that support all life on Earth, including humans. Without a wide range of animals, plants and microorganisms, we cannot have the healthy ecosystems that we rely on to provide us with the air we breathe and the food we eat. It’s not just of practical application, a proximity to nature also leads to increased levels of wellbeing for humans.

Warwickshire County Council recognises all these facts and is possibly the first Council to commit to investing in our biodiversity and thereby committed to maintaining and improving the biodiversity across the whole county so that the benefits can be enjoyed for generations to come.

Biodiversity Offsetting Model for Developers

The Council have always welcomed development in the county and is leading the way on considerate and biodiversity-conscious projects.  Warwickshire’s Biodiversity Offsetting model is a last resort process where conservation activities compensate for biodiversity loss resulting from development in a way that can be measured. Such conservation activities can be:

  • Tree planting
  • Wildflower meadow creation; and/or
  • Wetland creation and enhancements.

In Warwickshire, biodiversity offsetting is used to deliver effective, widespread biodiversity gain for the natural environment to minimise impacts from climate change by reconnecting existing wildlife areas. This allows species to move through Warwickshire, whilst also being easy and pragmatic for developers to understand and make good these losses.

This Model has drawn national praise and has been adopted by the Government in last year’s Natural Environment Act as a mandatory ‘Biodiversity Net Gain’

Find out more about this scheme here: https://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/biodiversityoffsetting

https://www.local.gov.uk/pas/topics/environment/biodiversity-net-gain-local-authorities

A tree for every resident

Warwickshire County Council has committed to further increasing the county’s biodiversity by planting a tree for every resident. That means close to 600, 000 new trees will be planted over the next decade. Putting the ‘right tree in the right place’ will seek to increase the number of hedgerow trees, create new woodlands, bring more trees in urban locations as well as restore  the ancient Forest of Arden, which once covered most of the county and beyond into Staffordshire and Worcestershire.

Work is progressing well on this tree planting and in the 2021/22 season, Warwickshire County Council planted 3,979 new trees and 1600 hedges at locations around Warwickshire.

More information on this tree-planting initiative can be found here: https://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/news/article/2528/a-tree-for-every-resident-in-warwickshire

The Warwickshire Tree Nursery

To support the Council’s impressive tree-planting target, it’s Cabinet recently approved plans for the Warwickshire Tree Nursery, which will enable it to grow locally sourced native trees to support future tree planting in Warwickshire.

More information about the Warwickshire nursery can be found here: https://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/news/article/3250/the-warwickshire-tree-nursery-planting-for-our-future

Cllr Heather Timms, Warwickshire County Council’s portfolio holder for Environment, Heritage and Culture, said: “Our multi-facetted approach to biodiversity will ensure not only that important habitat for wildlife are not lost, but that new habitats are created that will be enjoyed for generations to come.

“This Great Big Green Week is about empowering and inspiring our residents to do things that make a difference to our climate and environment and, in terms of biodiversity, there are lots of simple things that people can do to make a big difference. From planting trees, allowing parts of gardens to grow wild and putting up birdboxes there are a range of things that our residents can do as together we create a Warwickshire that is sustainable now and for all our futures.”

What’s next: Nature-based Solutions

Warwickshire Councils have carried out pioneering research into establishing other compensation models, similar to Biodiversity Offsetting. This will enable landowners to deliver ecological creation solutions to offset other environmental impacts such as air and water quality and carbon footprints. Another solution includes doctors prescribing walks in nature-rich parks to increase our health and wellbeing.

What residents can do

There are a huge range of things that residents can do to increase biodiversity in their local area. Here are just a few suggestions from ecologists at Warwickshire County Council:

  • Join a local tree-plating group – there are groups working across each District and Borough from the Friends of Blue Bell Walk in Rugby to the Foundry Wood project in Leamington  Spa.
  • Plant – Residents with a garden can look to plant their own native trees or flowers that attract pollinating insects which are essential for biodiversity
  • Help birds: Residents can put up a bird feeder, or nest box. Some birds will come to a feeder on a balcony, so they don’t even need a garden. If they have a garden, why not add a bird bath too?
  • Make a home: Put a bat box or hedgehog house in the garden. If they have less room, it’s easy to install a bug hotel for insects to use over winter.

Find out more about Big Green Week here: https://greatbiggreenweek.com/

Find a local Big Green Week event here: https://greatbiggreenweek.com/find-an-event/

There is just a short time remaining for community and voluntary groups to get their applications in for the second round of the Green Shoots Community Climate Change Fund. Find out more: https://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/regeneration-projects/green-shoots-community-climate-change-fund-2022

For more information about how Warwickshire County Council is facing the challenges of the climate change emergency, visit: https://www.warwickshireclimateemergency.org.uk/

Published: 27th September 2022