Biodiversity is the term used to indicate the variety of life on earth – the variety of species of plants, animals and all other organisms, the genetic variation within these species and the variation between the ecosystems and habitats in which they live.
Cheshire East’s contribution
At local level, Cheshire East hopes to play both a leading and supporting role in contributing to biodiversity conservation and enhancement through initiatives in the borough. These include:
- Policies to conserve and enhance natural resources and nature conservation interests in the Local Development Framework.
- The appointment of a Nature Conservation Officer based in the Heritage and Design department.
- Active membership of the Cheshire Region Biodiversity Partnership.
- Contribution to the Peak District Biodiversity Partnership.
- Maintaining a Biodiversity Audit for the Borough.
- Commitment to local involvement in biodiversity through the Community Plan.
Cheshire Region Biodiversity Partnership (CRBP)
Cheshire East is one of a number of contributing members to this sub-regional partnership which was set up with "A 2020 Vision - towards a land and sea richer in wildlife by the year 2020”. It is led by a steering group of over 10 partner organisations, including Cheshire Wildlife Trust, Natural England and the Environment Agency.
The CRBP programme is based on the best available scientific knowledge and seeks to take appropriate, prioritised action to conserve the most vulnerable plants and animals in the Cheshire region.
Currently, local Species Biodiversity Action Plans (LBAP’s) are in place for over 60 species (including. Barn Owl, Otter, Great Crested Newt) and Habitat Action Plans (HAP’s) are in progress for 17 habitats (including Meres, Heath land, Cereal Field Margins). In addition to supporting the programme generally, Cheshire East hopes to play a more leading role providing support, advice and funding for the:
- Bluebell Biodiversity Action Plan
- Ancient semi-natural broadleaved Woodland Habitat Action Plan
- Riparian Mammals Water Vole
- and Barn Owl species Action Plans.
The CRBP programme offers opportunities for volunteer involvement and suggests ways in which you can contribute to the Borough’s biodiversity.
Peak District Biodiversity Partnership
The eastern part of the Borough lies within the boundary of the Peak District National Park. Led by The National Park Authority, the Peak District Biodiversity Partnership is managing a Biodiversity Action Plan for this area.
A Biodiversity Audit of the Macclesfield Borough Area was completed in 2003. A non-technical summary of the Biodiversity Audit was produced in 2006.
This survey provides a basis and benchmark for ongoing species and habitat action plans to conserve and increase biodiversity in the Borough. Findings indicate the rich biodiversity in the Borough is as follows:
- Total number of Species records (so far) – 75,000
- Total number of Species represented – 5,273
- 671 species of butterflies and moths were found to be present
- 31 species of mammals, including 3 species of deer and 8 species of
bats were recorded.
Of these species, the following are of significant conservation interest:
- 32 Red Data Book Species
- 17 Nationally Rare Species (1-15km squares)
- 63 Nationally Scarce Species (16-100km squares)
- 22 UK Priority Species
- 108 NW England Species of Conservation Concern
- 31 Cheshire Biodiversity Action Plan Species
It is hoped to expand the bio audit database to cover the whole of Cheshire East.
Copies of the summary document and details of how to access the database are available on request.
The global context for biodiversity conservation
The need to provide a global framework to address issues relating to biodiversity was recognised at the Earth Summit in June 1992, when 159 governments, including the UK, signed the Convention of Biological Diversity.
It called for the creation and enforcement of national strategies and action plans to conserve, protect and enhance biological diversity. In response to this, the UK government launched “Biodiversity: the UK Action Plan” in 1994 following consultation with over 300 organisations. This has since become the major policy framework that draws together a number of nature conservation programmes throughout the UK, including the Cheshire Region Biodiversity Partnership.
The World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg in 2002 determined that, globally, we must “significantly reduce biodiversity loss by 2010” if we are to halt and reverse the current loss of habitats and species; Cheshire East Council and its residents must play their part at the local level.