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Biodiversity

What is Biodiversity and what value does it have for humans?

Biodiversity is made up of all living things on our planet. It also refers to how communities of species interact with each other within ecosystems and with the physical environment itself.

There are multiple ways that we depend upon biodiversity and it is important for us to conserve it:

  • Food – Agriculture, for example, is incredibly reliant upon invertebrates – they help to maintain the health of the soil crops grow in while many fruits, nuts and vegetables are pollinated by insects. Without bees we wouldn’t have apples, cherries, blueberries, almonds and many of the other foods we love on our supermarket shelves. Pollinators such as birds, bees and other insects are responsible for a third of the world’s crop production. Soil is also teaming with microbes that are vital for liberating nutrients that plants need to grow, which are then also passed to us when we eat them. In the oceans, fish and other forms of sea life provide the main source of animal protein for around one billion people.
  • Safety -it helps tackle climate change and improve resilience against problems such as flooding. Trees, bushes and wild grasslands play an important role in helping to protect us from flooding by slowing down water and helping soil to absorb rainfall. Plants and trees also clean the air we breathe and can help us tackle the global challenge of climate change by absorbing carbon dioxide. Coral reefs and mangrove forests act as natural defences protecting coastlines from waves and storms.
  • Health – Many of our medicines also originate from plants.  There is a growing body of literature on the relationship between human health and biodiversity. Simply having green spaces and trees in cities has been shown to decrease hospital admissionsreduce stress and lower blood pressure.’

Follow us on social media and sign up to ‘Be in the know’ to find out what Cranbrook and Sissinghurst Parish Council is doing to help preserve and enhance biodiversity, and how you can get involved.

 

Cranbrook and Sissinghurst Biodiversity Statement

Introduction

The UK is one of the world’s most nature-depleted countries – in the bottom 10% globally and last among the G7 group of nations. It has an average of about half its biodiversity left, far below the global average of 75%, a study has found. A figure of 90% is considered the “safe limit” to prevent the world from tipping into an “ecological meltdown”, according to researchers.

The Environmental Improvement Plan 2023, published in January 2023, sets out Government plans for significantly improving the natural environment.

By 2030, the government has committed to:

  • halt the decline in species abundance
  • protect 30% of UK land

 

By 2042, the government has committed to:

  • increase species abundance by at least 10% from 2030, surpassing 2022 levels
  • restore or create at least 500,000 ha of a range of wildlife rich habitats
  • reduce the risk of species extinction
  • restore 75% of our one million hectares of terrestrial and freshwater protected sites to favourable condition, securing their wildlife value for the long term

 

To contribute to the achievement of national goals and targets on biodiversity, in accordance with the duty imposed on town and parish councils by Section 40 of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006, updated by Section 102 of the Environment Act 2021, Cranbrook and Sissinghurst Parish Council will, in exercising all its functions, have regard to the purpose of conserving and enhancing biodiversity.

The council must:

  • Consider what it can do to conserve and enhance biodiversity.
  • Agree policies and specific objectives based on its consideration.
  • Act to deliver your policies and achieve your objectives.

This duty also means that town and parish councils can spend funds in conserving biodiversity.

 

What is biodiversity?
The Kent Nature Partnership Biodiversity Strategy 2019 to 2044 states that: Biodiversity is the variety of life on Earth, in all its forms, and the interactions between them – it is the wide range of living things and the habitats they rely on. Biodiversity does not just concern rare or endangered species and habitats – everything, even the most commonplace, has an important role in the wider ecosystem and the processes they support. The abundance of a species is also crucial in maintaining a healthy ecosystem.

 

Actions

The council will consider conserving and enhancing biodiversity when:

 

Managing Land 

The Council manages multiple green spaces including Oatfield Drive allotments, Cranbrook and Sissinghurst cemeteries, St Dunstan’s churchyard, Jubilee, Crane Valley and Ball Field recreation grounds (including the spinney on Ball Field), numerous hedgerows, the Orange Land, car parks and the Crane Valley Nature Reserve.

The Parish Council will, as far as possible, conserve the biodiversity of the land it manages by:

  • reducing the use of herbicides
  • proactively removing invasive species
  • continuing to create and manage dedicated spaces to attract and enhance wildlife
  • leaving fallen dead wood as a habitat for invertebrates, when safety allows
  • considering locations for bird boxes, bat boxes, hedgehog houses and bug hotels
  • carrying out botanical survey in Crane Valley Nature Reserve at 5 year intervals
  • carrying out routine tree surveys to ensure health, safety and longevity
  • continue to work with Kent High Weald Project to manage Crane Valley Nature Reserve
  • continuing to set aside an allotment plot for wildlife

 

Commenting on Planning Applications

When commenting on planning applications, CSPC will consider LN3.1 of the Cranbrook and Sissinghurst Made Neighbourhood Development Plan. The overall aim of which is:

  • To protect and enhance the historic landscape character, natural beauty, and rich ecological biodiversity of Cranbrook and Sissinghurst parish both within the High Weald AONB and its setting.
  • To protect and enhance the upland river catchment areas in the parish, such as the Crane Valley, in order to increase the landscape’s resilience to climate change and provide opportunities for the recovery of nature.
  • To ensure that any new development makes a positive contribution to its distinctive landscape character; to identify and protect distinctive historic landscape features, such as ancient woodlands, shaws and gills, veteran trees, hedgerows, field patterns, routeways, ponds, and watercourses.
  • To ensure new development makes a positive contribution to the biodiversity, ecological connectivity, and green and blue infrastructure of the parish.
  • To ensure new development does not increase the levels of light pollution in the parish.
  • To protect and enhance valued green spaces, significant views, and priority habitats.
  • To promote community access to green space, whilst protecting sensitive sites.
  • To protect the distinctive settlement pattern and support the spatial strategy for Cranbrook & Sissinghurst parish through the protection of green gaps between settlements.

 

Communicating with local residents

The Council were possible will:

  • feature biodiversity in public communications including website, Be In the Know and The Cake
  • maintain information boards in the Crane Valley Nature Reserve
  • support where possible
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