Click here to download Forward to 2020: Buckinghamshire & Milton Keynes Biodiversity Action Plan.
Why do we need a local Biodiversity Action Plan?
Wildlife is of value in itself and we have a moral duty to ensure it has space to thrive.
It is also essential to our survival. Biodiversity makes the Earth habitable, constantly cycling the raw materials of life, such as carbon dioxide, oxygen and water, ensuring there is air to breathe, water to drink, food to eat, and shade from a tree to shelter under. It is also critical to our well-being, enabling us to connect with the planet that is our home. Wildlife is amazing. Imagine a world without flowers, trees, birds and more. It brings so much pleasure to so many people.
And yet it continues to decline.
Buckinghamshire may still look green but this disguises dramatic declines in both the range of species present and the numbers of individuals of those species. The 2016 State of Nature Report highlighted how the wildlife of Britain is struggling, with on-going declines in the overall abundance of wildlife. UK priority species are faring particularly badly since 1970 with two thirds of individuals having been lost so that their populations are now only one-third of what they were in 1970. These include some of our best known wildlife such as skylarks, yellowhammers, water voles, hares, hedgehogs, frogs, and toads. For every three individuals of these priority species that existed in 1970 only one now remains. Imagine the uproar if we had allowed 28 of England’s 42 cathedrals to crumble away to nothing since 1970 and yet that is what we are allowing to happen to our wildlife. Indeed 1 in 10 wildlife species are now threatened with extinction in the UK.
What is the local Biodiversity Action Plan?
The Buckinghamshire Biodiversity Action Plan (“the BAP”) sets out the main issues impacting on wildlife in the county and some of the measures needed to help our wildlife. The BAP includes agreed targets for the creation and restoration of our most biodiverse habitats (or priority habitats) such as flower meadows, chalk downland, woodlands and wetlands. Like the BAP, the habitat targets are owned by us all and we can all contribute.
We have set an ambitious aim for there to be 20% more priority habitat in Buckinghamshire in 2020 than there was in 2010.
You can help achieve the “20% more wildlife habitat by 2020” target
Everyone from landowners to window box gardeners can do their part. Each and every bit of wildlife habitat created contributes to making Buckinghamshire a better place for wildlife and people.
If you are lucky enough to have a garden, can you set some of your lawn aside for a meadow, or plant wildlife friendly plants in the borders? And if you don’t have a garden how about a window box with flowers for pollinators.
Why not team up with others to encourage wildlife rich green spaces around where you live. If you have a Parish Council responsible for the green spaces work with them to let the flowers grow and create new habitats.
Your place of work:
What better welcome to visitors than a beautiful meadow of bright flowers at your entrance. And a wildlife area with trees, flowers and wetlands and some seats will provide a relaxing space at which staff can relax to refocus for work in the afternoon.
So whatever you can do to help wildlife in Buckinghamshire please do so and spread the word: tell others what you have done to inspire others to help.
The Biodiversity Action Plan for Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes is hosted by the Biodiversity Group of the Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes Natural Environment Partnership (NEP) and includes:
- Forward to 2020: Buckinghamshire & Milton Keynes Biodiversity Action Plan
- List of priority, protected, and other “notable” species
- Biodiversity Opportunity Areas (BOAs) maps and statements
- Buckinghamshire priority habitat targets (to be confirmed)
The Biodiversity Action Plan for Buckinghamshire belongs to everyone. Local businesses, organisations, statutory bodies, parish councils, groups and individuals can all make a valuable contribution, working on your own land or working in partnership with others.