Community News

Bristol declares ecological emergency

Main image: Mayor of Bristol Marvin Rees (centre) with city partners at Brandon Hill – following the declaration of an ecological emergency.

Bristol has become the first major city in the UK to declare an ecological emergency in response to increasing threats to wildlife and ecosystems.

This follows a worrying decline in numbers and diversity of wildlife in the city – especially in recent years – with 15 per cent of British wildlife now at risk of extinction.

The announcement was made by Mayor of Bristol Marvin Rees and Chief Executive of Avon and Wildlife Trust, Ian Barrett, at a city council cabinet meeting yesterday (4 February) – and builds on the declaration of a climate emergency in 2018.

The One City Plan already includes an ambition to double wildlife in Bristol — and now the council and city partners will be planning a series of further measures to take forward.

These include finding ways to stop wildlife habitats from being destroyed, managing the land in a sympathetic way as well as creating and caring for wildlife-rich spaces in every part of the city and region.

The council and Avon Wildlife Trust say action is needed at all levels to tackle this emergency – from central government to communities and individuals.

Marvin Rees said: “It is not too late to start the recovery of our wildlife. We must work together to grasp this last chance and put things right for nature and wildlife in our city.

“This declaration will provide a focus for the whole city to come together and take positive action.

“Our commitment to this will extend beyond parks and green spaces. We need our buildings, streets and open spaces to support wildlife and create a more nature friendly city, and we need new developments to do the same.

“This is about how we responsibly build and develop the city so humans don’t threaten wildlife and instead support them to grow alongside us…”

Ian Barrett from Avon Wildlife Trust said: “The twin threats facing our natural world and our own lives – climate breakdown and ecological emergency – are now felt everywhere including in Bristol as we witness dwindling wildlife and the loss of wild spaces.

“We can’t wait for national governments or international bodies to lead the way – we have to show that through collective action we can make Bristol a city where wildlife can thrive and the natural world can flourish…

“All of us – from individuals to large city organisations – can now take action and from planting a single window box for pollinators, to a whole workforce effort for nature – all actions are transformational.”

To find out more about how you can help visit https://www.avonwildlifetrust.org.uk