The Director of Planning, Development and Transportation submits a report, which provides an update on the Leicester Biodiversity Action Plan 2011-2021 and to report on progress made on the Biodiversity Action Plan Programme for 2018/19.
The Director of Planning, Development and Transportation submitted a report, which provided an update on the Leicester Biodiversity Action Plan 2011-2021 and provided an update on progress made on the Biodiversity Action Plan Programme for 2018/19.
It was reported that the Biodiversity Action Plan 2011-20201, which was appended to the report, set out how the Council would manage, promote and extend the city’s natural habitats, helping people to enjoy and understand the biodiversity of the city. It was reported that the Plan would set out the priorities for future action.
The Action Plan and programme aimed to:
A presentation was given, which detailed recent projects delivered through the Biodiversity Action Plan.
In considering the Action Plan, members made the following specific comments:
· The requirement to retain mature trees in city centres was considered to be of great importance and that policies to protect trees and the promotion of ‘green walls’ should be encouraged. The inclusion of suitable policies within the draft Local Plan were highlighted to give assurances that the issues concerning the retention of mature trees were being appropriately considered.
In respect of the national planning policy framework concerning the replacement of trees as a compensation for development, it was clarified that the retention of trees and biodiversity was a significant factor. The position of the Council was to avoid any loss of trees before the introduction of mitigation was explained.
· It was confirmed that partnership work was essential to ensure that the ambitions of the Plan could be achieved. The importance of the Council being not seen as the single voice in promoting biodiversity was expressed, and the work of organisations such as the Wildlife Trust and Bug Life were noted and welcomed.
· The need to ensure greater education concerning the biodiversity Action Plan was expressed. Members particularly referred to the numbers of comments and complaints at surgeries in respect of grass cutting and highway maintenance of roadside verges. It was suggested that greater awareness would lead to a better understanding and a reduction in public complaints.
In response to questions, it was clarified that funding for the implementation of the Plan was received from the Environment Agency where schemes related to flood alleviation, and the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP). In reply to a question it was reported that the city performed favourably with other neighbouring and comparable cities. It was clarified that biodiversity practices were often shared to promote good practice.
A Commission member raised concerns in respect of the disposal of waste on agricultural land. In response it was reported that as there was a limit to the amount of agricultural land in the city, however it was confirmed that further information could be researched on the issue, which would be forwarded to the member separately.
It was AGREED to note and welcome the content of the report.