This month sees a new report published by City of York Council concerning the natural environment of York. This extensive report details the measures required to protect the city’s habitat and wildlife, including endangered species, which are threatened with extinction. York has nine nationally important Sites of Special Scientific Interest, three of which are internationally important in terms of protection and conservation.
The Biodiversity Action Plan looks at the many different forms of biodiversity in York and the life that surrounds us all, from plants, animals, insects and the way they all work together. Some of the most unique natural wonders of York include 2,000 year old wildflower meadows such as Clifton Ings and the Tansy beetle, which lives on tansy clumps on the banks of the river Ouse, found nowhere else in the UK. It has been identified that many of these beetles were once used as sequins on Victorian dresses, therefore the fact that the city is home to some truly unique habitats and species is certainly invaluable to current and future historical and scientific research.
The aim of the Biodiversity Action Plan has been designed to help inform planners, developers and landowners on how they can work together to avoid harm to fragile environments and species, and where possible to enhance provision of important habitats.
The Biodiversity Audit 2010 survey of York details the individual habitats and sites that are considered ‘at risk’. Working alongside the Rio Earth Summit national action plan, City of York Council’s local action plan builds upon the recent report to halt the loss of biodiversity and promote the safeguarding of current species at threat.
Cllr Dave Merrett, Cabinet Member for Transport, Planning and Sustainability, said: “York is a special place not only for its history, buildings and archaeology but also for some of its habitats, plants and wildlife.
“Through the extensive survey work already carried out over a number of years, we have identified some of the at risk habitats and species and are seeking to protect the key areas and sites involved through the proposed Local Plan, whilst allowing necessary development in other locations.
“But it’s also important we recognise and respond to the many other challenges to York’s particular natural environment, and the Biodiversity Action Plan indicates how we can go about doing that.”
Residents can also help by completing fact sheets about wildlife activity in their gardens at www.york.gov.uk/localplan in the ‘download documents panel’.