Nature to be “embedded into all council decisions
Main image: Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees and Cabinet Member for Climate, Ecology, Waste and Energy, Nicola Beech (far left), with volunteers from Friends of Eastwood Farm and members of the Avon Wildlife Trust. (Picture Bristol City Council).
Bristol City Council has launched an action plan to help reverse the decline in wildlife in the area and create space for nature.
The Ecological Emergency Action Plan was unveiled on Wednesday (1 September) by the Mayor of Bristol Marvin Rees at Eastwood Farm Nature Reserve in Brislington.
Coming 18 months after Bristol declared an ecological emergency – the four-year-plan will make sure nature is “embedded into all council decisions” as part of the next phase of work.
That announcement by the Mayor in February 2020 led to the development of Bristol’s One City Ecological Emergency Strategy. This included the vision that 30 per cent of Bristol’s land will be managed for nature.
Mayor of Bristol, Marvin Rees, said: “Here in Bristol we are fortunate to have many green open spaces and wildlife areas that we enjoy and make us healthier and happier, and many of our citizens already help to encourage nature in their gardens or by volunteering in their communities.
“However, globally and locally, we are seeing nature collapse rapidly. For example, since 1970, globally we’ve lost 60 per cent of wild invertebrates and up to 76 per cent of insects, while in Bristol songbird populations, like swifts and starlings, have dropped by more than 96 per cent.
“Bristol was the first city in the UK to declare an Ecological Emergency in 2020 in response to the drastic decline in wildlife and developing the One City Ecological Emergency Strategy was our signal that we intend to meet this challenge, setting out the ambitious steps we as a city we need to take and how we intend to do it.’’
Ian Barrett, Chief Executive of Avon Wildlife Trust, said: “We warmly welcome the publication of the council’s Ecological Emergency Action Plan.
“It’s great to be working with a council who are seriously looking at what they can do to tackle the ecological emergency. There is a lot of work still to do if we are going to reverse wildlife declines. In planning, local plans need reviewing in the light of current conservation priorities, and the reduction of pesticide use is a key priority.
“We look forward to supporting the council in creating these vital changes, and in helping ensure that these promises become a reality.”
The plan will see the council work with communities, organisations and businesses – and support citizens and city partners to meet its goals.
These include continuing to reduce the use of pesticides in Bristol, aiming for a 50 per cent reduction by 2030, ensuring all of Bristol’s waterways are of the quality to support healthy wildlife and reducing the use of products that affect the health of wildlife and eco systems.
To view the Ecological Action Plan visit: https://www.bristol.gov.uk/policies-plans-strategies/bristol-ecological-emergency