Council declares ecological emergency across Leamington, Warwick, Kenilworth and surrounding area

Warwick District Council members have agreed to develop a new biodiversity action plan to sit alongside the authority’s climate action plan
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Warwick District Council has declared an ecological emergency with councillors agreeing to develop a new biodiversity action plan to sit alongside its already adopted climate action plan.The decision was taken at this week’s full council meeting and will mean that, following discussions with the council’s own climate change programme advisory board, a detailed plan will be presented to cabinet early in the new year.Councillors agreed unanimously that the plan should incorporate seven clear aims including improving biodiversity in green spaces managed by the council and its contractors and ensuring that biodiversity runs through the new South Warwickshire Local Plan.The council will look for opportunities to invest in the Carbon Offset Fund, work in partnership with other agencies to improve the biodiversity of areas supported by the natural water systems, and develop a public awareness and education plan in collaboration with Warwickshire Wildlife Trust, charities and community groups to focus on what individuals and groups can do in their own local areas.

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The idea was proposed by Cllr Phil Kohler (Lib Dem, Leamington Lillington) as a notice of motion and he said urgent action was needed to address the problems we are facing.He said: “Declaring an ecological emergency will recognise the urgency. This motion aims to set us on a path to creating a plan for our district. We have already done some good work to improve biodiversity and we can build on that.“It is clear that we need to do much more. We are not the first to go down this toute with around a fifth of councils around the country declaring an ecological emergency as well as a climate emergency and one of the benefits is the opportunity to tackle them both together – restoring wetlands will not only enhance biodiversity but can also act as a natural carbon sink.“As the saying goes, the best time to take action is yesterday, the second best time is now.”

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There was unanimous support for the motion and Cllr Alan Rhead (Con, Budbrooke), the portfolio holder for climate change, said he was happy to back the call.

He added: “It enhances what we are doing with climate change and I’m sure our officers will look at this with a great degree of interest. It is also important to relate it to what we have already done, not only in biodiversity but also in climate change action.”