Nature is threatened by climate change, habitat loss, species decline and the threat of invasive species as never before. In July 2019 the Council recognised that we face an ecological emergency and agreed to support the aim of doubling nature in South Cambridgeshire.
Our Doubling Nature Strategy [PDF, 3MB] sets out our approach to supporting this aim. It is accompanied by our Zero Carbon and Doubling Nature Action Plan, which lists 12 actions we are taking to increase and enhance nature across our estate and the wider district. Progress on these actions is reported to our Climate and Environment Advisory Committee every six months.
Development is one of the greatest threats to nature, but can also deliver gains for nature. The Greater Cambridge Biodiversity Supplementary Planning Document [PDF] adopted in February 2022 provides practical advice and guidance on how to develop proposals which avoid harm, and provide a long-term measurable net gain for biodiversity. We are working on a new joint Local Plan with Cambridge City Council, which will update and strengthen policies to increase nature, wildlife and green spaces.
Many of our objectives to increase nature are achieved by work with partners. We are members of our Local Nature Partnership, Natural Cambridgeshire, which brings together public bodies, conservation and wildlife organisations, and businesses to support nature.
All public bodies, including parish councils, have a statutory duty to have regard to conserving biodiversity. The Government has published some guidance on the GOV.UK website.
More generally, parish councils and communities have a vital role to play in nature recovery.
Natural Cambridgeshire's Local Nature Recovery Toolkit provides excellent advice, support and signposting on how to do this.
We encourage and support this work:
- Our Community Chest provides grants of up to £2,000 for projects which support biodiversity. These grants are available to not-for-profit organisations and parish councils.
- Our Community-Led Plan Toolkit sets out how to include Local Nature Recovery Plans and Parish Council Biodiversity Policies in a Community-Led Plan
- Our Zero Carbon Communities grant funds tree-planting and other projects which tackle climate change.
- Our Six Free Trees project provides free trees to parish councils.
- Our Zero Carbon Communities programme supports community action in various ways including webinars and a newsletter.
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