South Gloucestershire Council have recently launched a new support package for their Town and Parish Councils (T&PCs) called a Local Nature Action Plan (LNAP). Matthew Lipton, Commons and Biodiversity Manager, dicusses this exciting new initiative and the progress made so far.
This package was designed to make it easy for our T&PCs to take positive action in tackling the ecological crisis we are all facing.
It was designed in recognition of the lack of resources that many of our T&PCs have access to which we in the larger authorities take for granted such as communications teams, designers, specialists etc. We wanted to be able to engage our T&PCs with taking positive action, guiding them to using their resources to make positive changes for nature on their assets but also to teach them and mobilise them to engage with their residents and so add to and support the action we are taking for nature as a unitary authority.
So far we have had 9 out of 47 T&PCs take up this initiative, it has been live for a few months but more are coming on board. They are now designing LNAPs, talking about directing some of their resources to ecological projects and discussing how they will engage with their residents. We believe this will be a huge success in mobilising often over looked T&PCs who are all land owners, property owners, budget holders and most importantly the first line of communication with our residents.
9 T&PCs involved equates to:
97 T&PC Councillors who are now thinking about and discussing what steps they can take for nature at a very local level. Positively looking at planting trees, installing bird boxes, reducing grass cutting and engaging with their residents about nature projects such as hedgehog highways. 97 local decision maker now engaged in natures recovery alongside our authority.
57,597 residents (2011 census). The combined total residents of these towns and parishes will now in some way be involved with nature’s recovery through local communications channels, supporting the work or simply funding these changes through their town and parish precepts.
12201.49 hectares. The combined land of these towns and parishes equates to just under a quarter of the total land mass of South Gloucestershire. LNAPs will cover and influence all this land in some way to help nature.