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New ambitious biodiversity strategy for Norwich unveiled

Published on Monday, 20th June 2022

A ten-year plan setting out the city council’s ambitious plans for its biodiversity agenda will be outlined at a council meeting on Tuesday 28 June.

The council’s draft Biodiversity Strategy sets out our key aspirations, aims and objectives and actions to guide this hugely important piece of work over the next decade. 

It also describes how council policy and the Norwich 2040 City Vision will be effectively and reliably delivered upon.

The new strategy proposes an enhanced commitment to ‘create a city where biodiversity can recover and thrive, halt species decline and increase species abundance by 2030’, replacing the existing commitment to ‘protect and enhance biodiversity and habitat’ which was published previously in the Environmental Strategy (2020-25). The council’s target of increasing species abundance by 2030 exceeds central government’s ambition of only halting species decline by this time. 

The new strategy has two principal outcomes:

  • The development of a Nature Recovery Network (NRN) for Norwich which will be created by inviting coordinated action from residents, the business community, voluntary groups and charities who own wildlife sites, to work together towards the common goal of sustained nature recovery.
  • Aligning council operations with the strategy to contribute to the NRN by improving biodiversity in parks, open spaces and the green spaces in and around our buildings.

Alongside the principal outcomes, the strategy also seeks to:

  • improve wellbeing through improved access to nature
  • enhance tourism and visitor experience 
  • reduce heat, drought, flood risk and other impacts of climate change, improve air quality and water quality in our rivers and surface water resources.

Councillor Adam Giles, cabinet member with responsibility for biodiversity, said: “We have a proud track record of success in measures at our parks and green spaces to enhance biodiversity. This new strategy sets our ambitious targets to go further and faster – a key document which continues to demonstrate our commitment to put biodiversity at the centre of what the council does, support our wider aim of responding effectively to the climate emergency and lead on educating us in the immense value of our biodiversity being able to prosper.”

Councillor Emma Hampton, cabinet member with responsibility for climate change, added: “Taking action to redress the climate and environmental emergencies are key policy priorities for the council and form central planks of the Norwich 2040 City Vision. That vision sets commitments for a transition to clean energy by 2040 and becoming carbon neutral by 2050. These commitments are part of five wider themes, which include biodiversity improvement and form the foundation of a shared and long-term vision for the city.”

The strategy has been informed by external expert advice from the East of England LGA, a pre-draft public consultation via an event at the Halls in November 2021, and digital engagement via the Get Talking Norwich website.

The draft strategy will be published for external consultation over the summer. This will include engagement with communities and individuals as well as city councillors, subject matter experts, strategic partners and other interested parties. Full details of the consultation communication plan, and final timelines, are being developed. The consultation will begin later this summer with plans to implement the new strategy by the end of the year. The draft document will be considered by the Climate and Environment Emergency Executive Panel on Tuesday 28 June.

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