Environmental Planning Policies
Hull Biodiversity Action Plan
Biodiversity describes the amazing richness and variety of life around us. It includes all species of plant, animals and other life forms, which amount to something between 5 and 30 million species globally. Biodiversity also covers the genetic variation within species and variation between ecosystems and habitats in which these species live.
The term biodiversity does not just cover rare or endangered species but includes the wildlife familiar to us all in the places where we live and work, as well as ourselves.
Biodiversity affects our lives in so many ways that we often take it for granted. Natural habitats such as forests, heaths and wetlands are the Earth’s life support system, cycling air, water and carbon, regulating climate and absorbing many of our poisons and wastes.
Animals and plants provide our food and clothing, the houses we live in and the medicines we rely on. Wild animals and plants are beautiful and enrich our lives. Wild flowers in the hedgerow and birds in our gardens give us pleasure, and attractive green areas in towns and cities make them better places to live and work. However, we are losing our biodiversity at a frightening rate, so it is up to us all to do something about it.
The Biodiversity Framework
The International Level
In response to concerns about loss of biodiversity expressed at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, there has been much activity in ‘biodiversity planning’ across the globe. Over 150 governments, including the UK, signed a pledge (Convention on Biological Diversity) to take immediate action to halt the global loss of biodiversity. Many countries now have national Biodiversity Action Plans and are beginning the process of implementation.
The National Level
In the UK, Biodiversity: the UK Action Plan was produced in 1994 with an overall goal "to conserve and enhance biological diversity within the UK and contribute to the conservation of global biodiversity through all appropriate mechanisms". The UK Biodiversity Steering Group was set up to prepare a detailed plan of action to achieve these objectives. There are now 45 national Habitat Action Plans and 391 Species Action Plans.
The Hull Biodiversity Steering Group
The UK Biodiversity Steering Group recommended the production of Local Biodiversity Action Plans, which should have two main objectives – to reflect and help implement the national priorities identified in the UK Action Plans, and to identify and address local priorities and local distinctiveness.
The Hull Biodiversity Action Plan shows how we can conserve our own biodiversity and contribute to improving biodiversity on a global scale. It also attempts to link up with the biodiversity plans of the wider Humber sub-Region.
As one of the partners, it is the intention of Kingston upon Hull City Council to adopt the Hull Biodiversity Action Plan as formal Planning Policy Guidance and it is hoped that other organisations will also adopt and commit to this plan.
Agenda 21 also originates in the Rio Earth Summit. It is a world-wide programme stimulating sustainable development. Sustainable development can be defined as "development that meets our needs today without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs". If this is to be achieved, Agenda 21 will rely primarily on local action (i.e. Local Agenda 21).
A wide-ranging programme of action is needed by local authorities and local communities throughout the world to achieve a more sustainable pattern of development in the 21st century. Biodiversity is one of the key strands identified in the Kingston upon Hull LA 21 Strategy.
Download the Hull Biodiversity Action Plan