Nature and Wildlife
We aim to protect and enhance biodiversity and ensure that everyone has a chance to enjoy and benefit from nature now and in the future.
Biodiversity means all of the diversity of life on Earth. It includes all forms of life such as plants, animals, fungi and micro-organisms, as well as the habitats and ecosystems in which they live and interact. Biodiversity encompasses not only these physical aspects of life but also the genetic diversity. 'Wildlife' and 'Nature' are other terms often used to describe this rich array of plants, animals and other organisms.
Why Biodiversity is Important
Biodiversity is essential. We depend on a vast array of ecosystems and species for the commodities and services provided, as well as the intrinsic value that nature holds in terms of happiness and wellbeing. Without the protection of biodiversity, sustainability is not achievable.
Biodiversity gives us:
- Ecosystem services, such as pollination, the fresh air, clean water and productive soils that we need to survive
- Food, medicines, materials and other natural products that give us shelter, protection and keep us healthy
- Economic benefits that maintain a healthy economy. Without the products and services that diverse, natural systems provide, we would not be able to survive, let alone prosper
- The natural beauty that we enjoy and which plays a vital role in improving our quality of life
- A community of life, with which we share planet Earth, and the opportunity to practice thoughtful stewardship
Why it's Under Threat
Humans have an enormous impact on biodiversity by influencing population size and distribution of species and the availability and quality of their habitats. With agricultural intensification, large-scale land-use change and rapid expansion of the built development brought about by human population growth and greed for resources, biodiversity is suffering severe losses.
Biodiversity in Nottingham City
The city has over 400 hectares of natural and semi-natural open spaces including nature reserves, woodlands, river corridors and post-industrial land, many of which are accessible to the public and free to enjoy. There is also extensive green space in the form of parks, playgrounds, sports grounds, cemeteries, amenity areas and other incidental spaces that form important linking corridors or stepping stones for wildlife as well as providing a valuable resource for our human residents and visitors.
Biodiversity exists all over the City and as well as the wide array of open spaces, Nottingham has wildlife sites specifically designated for their nature conservation value, designations that help to protect some of our most highly valued and significant natural spaces. Nottingham also plays host to lots of interesting animals including several species of bat, badgers, water voles and birds.
Within the city boundary there are:
- More than 60 biological and 18 geological Local Wildlife Sites (LWS; formerly known as Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation SINCs)
- 14 Local Nature Reserves (LNRs) with more on the way
- 3 Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs)
Wildlife in the City
Wildlife in the City is a partnership project between Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust and Nottingham City Council. It started as a three-year project funded by Natural England through Access to Nature, as part of the Big Lottery Fund's Changing Spaces programme. During the first three years, the project worked with local people to undertake vital habitat creation and management works throughout the city.
Although the funding for the project has now ended, its objectives and the partnership between the City Council and Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust remains, with the Trust managing many of the Council's wildlife sites under a management agreement and using local volunteers to help out with essential tasks such as scrub management, gardening, litter picks and floral surveys.
If you would like to get involved with helping out to maintain your local wildlife site, then please get in touch with the City Council's Biodiversity Officers at email@example.com, or Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust at firstname.lastname@example.org
Nottingham City Council's Commitment to Biodiversity
In summer 2011 the Government published 'Biodiversity 2020: A strategy for England's wildlife and ecosystem services', a national strategy that sets out the government's ambition to halt overall loss of England's biodiversity by 2020, support healthy well-functioning ecosystems and establish coherent ecological networks, with more and better places for nature for the benefit of wildlife and people. The strategy builds on the 2011 Natural Environment White Paper 'The Natural Choice: securing the value of nature', which further highlights the importance of protecting and enhancing wildlife and enforces the government's commitment to halting biodiversity loss by targeted action.
In October 2011 Nottingham City Council adopted the updated Biodiversity Position Statement: Ambition for wildlife. The document reflects our commitment to wildlife and the natural environment, by upholding and supporting key policy and legislation at both local and national levels.
Nottingham City Council recognises its duty as a Local Authority and landowner to protect and enhance biodiversity, a 'biodiversity duty' of all public bodies as highlighted by the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act (NERC; 2006). We aim to ensure that everyone has a chance to enjoy and benefit from nature now and in the future. The Biodiversity Officers provide advice and expertise to ensure that space is made for nature within city boundaries, ensuring that residents and visitors can enjoy a wealth of natural surroundings.
Nottingham City Council is a member of Nottinghamshire Biodiversity Action Group. A local strategic group that works together to protect and enhance wildlife locally and deliver the Nottinghamshire Biodiversity Action Plan.
By working in partnership with a number of external organisations such as Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust, Environment Agency, Groundwork, TCV (formerly BTCV), Natural England and the Sherwood Forest Trust, Nottingham City Council strives to play a proactive role across the City to help protect and enhance our biodiversity and areas of natural greenspace.
Biodiversity in Planning
Protected species are a material consideration in the planning process and the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and Nottingham City's 'saved' Local Plan and Aligned Core Strategy also have policies that serve to protect valuable habitats and notable species.
Finding out whether a proposed development will impact upon protected species, designated sites, and further notable habitats or species is the responsibility of the planning applicant and an ecological assessment of the site should be carried out early on to avoid delays, as necessary surveys will require specialist input and may be constrained by only being possible during specific seasons.
For further information on when an ecological assessment is expected and what should be submitted in support of planning applications affecting sites, habitats or species, as well as advice on incorporating biodiversity value in development sites. Please see the Biodiversity Checklist at the bottom of this page for more details.
We're running a campaign to help our local bees and make Nottingham a more pollinator-friendly city. See the Bee-Friendly Nottingham page for more information