Norwich City Council has declared Climate and Biodiversity Emergencies. This new Biodiversity Strategy and its associated Development Plan are a key part of delivering against the priorities and ambitions set within the council’s overarching Environmental Strategy 2020-25.
We are rightly proud of our beautiful, unique and diverse city and its natural environment — with many hidden green space gems, heathland, parks, woodland, allotments and waterways, providing Green Flag award-winning places for us to appreciate. This habitat is of course also home to a variety of wildlife and nature, whose survival is dependent on human behaviour. In turn our future prosperity is reliant on biodiversity being able to thrive.
Since the council’s previous biodiversity strategy was published in 2002, significant efforts have been made to improve the quality of our local nature reserves and wildlife sites. These include Green Flag Status for Eaton Park, Waterloo Park, and Mousehold Heath, as well as management plans in place for those sites with prioritised habitats and species. £300,000 in CIL funding was secured to invest in the creation of new habitats at Kett’s Heights to boost biodiversity.
At Mousehold Heath a grant of £30,600 was secured from Natural England for a Higher Level Stewardship Agreement to improve the quantity and quality of heathland and acid grassland, nationally important habitats. This work has led to the identification of: a number of scarce and threatened bee and wasp species; a number of butterfly species, such as small copper and green hairstreak; and a number of moth species, including true lover’s knott, heath rustic, and beautiful yellow underwing. The installation of bentonite clay linings at the Vinegar Pond and the Mustard Pond have seen a good number of dragonfly and damselfly species prosper, including the Norfolk Hawker, a nationally threatened and scarce Red Data book species.
Exceptional partnership work and valuable projects have been delivered with our environmentally passionate community and key stakeholders. A biodiversity event held at St Andrew’s & Blackfriars Hall on 30 November 2021, highlighted a vast range of additional ideas that we can look to take forward together. More than ever we need to work collectively and also look to draw on the experience of the Norwich 2040 City Vision partnership to reach out to all sectors of our community.
Our broader Environmental Strategy (2020-25) complements this Biodiversity Strategy through provision for reduced carbon emissions and air pollution.
The city council has an important leadership role to play as an anchor institution in creating sustainable communities where biodiversity can thrive. Positive action through innovative management techniques of parks and open spaces, excellent conservation of our natural areas, and ambitious expectations of housing developers all support our goal to create a place where our residents, visitors and the environment can all flourish.
The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of access to local green spaces and nature, both for physical health and mental wellbeing. Biodiversity must be protected and enhanced if Norwich is to remain an attractive place to live and work for our residents.
In order to maintain and improve biodiversity across the city, action will need to be taken at every level. From individuals to large organisations. From gardens to our road verges, our green spaces, to our industrial estates and new developments. We need to be much more connected to, and aware of, the nature that surrounds us, our impact upon it, the benefits it brings, and take the opportunities to support biodiversity available to us.
We have set ourselves ambitious targets and plans and pledge to use our planning powers to produce Biodiversity Net Gain on all redevelopments, taking a genuinely radical approach to sustainable development that enhances biodiversity.
It will be equally important to work closely with and influence key partners and stakeholders, including Norfolk County Council, who have responsibility for transport, highways and verges, lighting and education in our area. We will continue to strive to lead by example in positively managing our own treasured and unique habitats.
I am delighted we are continuing to demonstrate our commitment to put biodiversity at the centre of what Norwich City Council does, support our wider aim of responding effectively to the Climate Emergency, and lead on educating us all in the immense value of our biodiversity being able to prosper.
Councillor Adam Giles
Cabinet Member for Community Wellbeing
Adopted by Cabinet November 2022
You can also download the strategy as a pdf.
If you would like this information in another language or format such as large print, CD or Braille please visit www.norwich.gov.uk/Intran or call 0344 980 3333.