Climate change and biodiversity commitment to be stepped up

13 December 2019

Our commitment to responding to climate change and enhancing biodiversity is set to be strengthened as we look to revise and update our Council Plan. 

A corporate policy on biodiversity has also been drafted which looks to maximise the ways in which we can use our influence to ensure that the impact of human activity within South Lakeland on biodiversity is as positive as it can be.

Our cabinet has recommended that a meeting of the full council on Tuesday adopts both the updated Council Plan, with a revised theme of "responding to Climate Change and enhancing Biodiversity", and the biodiversity policy.

A report before cabinet said: "The principle of biodiversity net gain is enshrined in our new planning policies. We are engaged in large-scale tree planting. We are increasingly managing our parks and open spaces to maximise biodiversity, changing mowing regimes to promote more diverse and species-rich swards and working with community groups and volunteers to plant wildflowers in our parks and open spaces."

Pledges in the Council Plan include growing a green economy by developing town centres which are attractive and accessible for living, working, culture and leisure; ensuring that business areas are protected from flooding; promoting environmental technologies and the green economy; working with local communities to improve, manage and promote accessible public realm; and making the best use of our parks, open spaces and lakes.

To meet the challenge of climate change, we will work to achieve a carbon neutral South Lakeland; promote sustainable and active transport including cycling and walking; conserve and enhance the biodiversity of the district; and phase out the use of single-use plastics.

Our policy to promote and enhance local and global biodiversity details how we will ensure where possible that products procured by us and our contractors are from sustainable sources and encourage our community and partners to do likewise; seek to minimise the emissions of greenhouse gases through the implementation of our Climate Change policy; and avoid the use of single-use plastics.

We will also encourage habitat creation, restoration and safeguarding through our planning policies which encourage the development of greenspace networks and corridors, and enshrine the principles of net gain, safeguard important site features and habitats and encourage habitat creation in new development.

Councillor Dyan Jones, Portfolio Holder for Climate Emergency and Localism, told a Cabinet meeting earlier this month: "I am happy to recommend this revised council plan with the additional emphasis and response to Climate Emergency and the adoption of a corporate policy on biodiversity.  It demonstrates a commitment to conserve and enhance the biodiversity of this district and will be enshrined in what we do as an authority now and in the future; to capture the vision 'working together to make South Lakeland the best place to live, work and explore', whilst accepting that there is always more to do." 

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