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Agenda item

Nature Recovery Declaration

(Report of the Leader of the Council)


The chair welcomed the Deputy Leader of the Council and the Assistant Director Growth and Regeneration to introduce the report of the Leader of the Council to declare that nature is in crisis and to commit to the recovery of nature across the Borough and wider Staffordshire.


The Deputy Leader introduced the Assistant Director who highlighted the following information –


Ø  The Nature Recovery Declaration is similar to the climate change emergency declaration made by the Council in 2019.

Ø  The declaration would obligate the Council to take action to address nature recovery across the borough in all its operations, policies and activities.

Ø  Nature is in crisis – 41 of wild species are in decline and 15% are facing extinction.

Ø  Through the environment act the Government has made a commitment for itself and Local Authorities to try and halt, and then reverse the decline. And then look to improve.

Ø  Expected to address the four key principles of the Lawson Report (2010)

Ø  The wildlife Trust have been involved in writing the report and the Staffordshire Sustainability board is interested and asking authorities to take action.

Ø  The Local Nature Recovery Strategy – the Government is funding key authorities to deliver this, including Staffordshire County Council who have set up a working group which officers have been invited to. They have until March 2025 to get a local nature recovery strategy in place. This will be Staffordshire wide and the borough will need to do some more local work. There is some Defra money available to help the Council look at biodiversity net gain.

Ø  Tamworth did do some work 2 years ago in the area which is attached in Appendix two.

Ø  Biodiversity net gain – we already do this through local plan policies, but it is now enshrined in legislation that we must apply to certain applications. The expectation is that there is better wildlife at the end of a development than there was at the beginning.

Ø  The declaration sets out the key requirements including ’30 by 30’ which sets out managing at least 30% of council-owned greenspaces for the benefit of Wildlife, tree planting, road verges and protected and designated landscapes.

Ø  The declaration also highlights who would be responsible for monitoring this which includes this committee.


The committee made the following comments/observations and asked the following questions:


1.     The chair stated that they were pleased to see this coming forward, as a densely built-up area it would be easy for the borough to say its not their responsibility but there is still work they can do.

2.     The committee acknowledged the importance of key partnerships and asked the acting Leader if they would commit to ensuring that the council was represented at The Staffordshire Sustainability Board meetings?

The acting leader agreed with the comments and committed to ensure that this was attended.

3.     How would progress be reported on?

The officer highlighted the responsibilities which were included at the end of the declaration in appendix one including this committee receiving regular updates.

4.     Concerns around how we embed the strategy in the day-to-day operations of the Council and how we ensure that this is not used as an excuse to not maintain areas?

The officer confirmed that some work was already being done under other titles such as open spaces maintenance however there will need to be a mindset change to encompass nature recovery. Whilst some of the work does sit under the Assistant Direct, Growth and Regeneration, the lead Assistant Director is coming in new to the post so they will be managing the operation, but the Council needs to be really clear about what they want to achieve and why and that is where the committee can play an important role.

5.     Can we not deliver against BNG legislation earlier rather than wait for the pushed back deadline.

The officer confirmed that we already deliver biodiversity net gain through the Local Plan policy however as we don’t have any applications that require it through the legislation at the moment, we haven’t lost out by the Governments changed deadlines. Whilst the Council are ready to receive applications the industry itself needs to be ready. The council are looking at whether they could as a landowner accommodate some of the BNG offsetting.



That Committee:



Supports the Borough Council making a Nature Recovery Declaration (as at Appendix 1 of the report).



(Moved by Councillor B Clarke and seconded by Councillor L Smith)



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