Biodiversity Policy

( a pdf version of this policy can be downloaded here)

1. Introduction

In accordance with the duty imposed on town and parish councils by Section 40 of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006, updated by Section 102 of the Environment Act 2021, St Stephen in Brannel parish council will in exercising all its functions have regard to the purpose of conserving biodiversity. This duty also means that town and parish councils can spend funds in conserving biodiversity.

2. Definition

According to Defra (Biodiversity 2020), biodiversity is the variety of all life on Earth. It includes all species of animals and plants – everything that is alive on our planet. Biodiversity is important for its own sake and has its own intrinsic value. A number of studies have shown this value also goes further. It is the building block of our ‘ecosystems’. These provide us with a wide range of goods and services that support our economic and social wellbeing. These include essentials such as food, fresh water and clean air, but also less obvious services such as protection from natural disasters, regulation of our climate, and purification of our water or pollination of our crops. Biodiversity also provides important cultural services, enriching our lives.

3. Aims And Objectives

The object of this policy is to work towards enhancing and protecting the biodiversity of St Stephen in Brannel parish. All committees of St Stephen in Brannel parish council will consider sustainability, environmental impact and biodiversity when making decisions and will develop and implement policies and strategies as required. In particular, St Stephen in Brannel parish council will aim to improve the biodiversity of the area in the
following ways:

  • consider the potential impact on biodiversity represented by planning applications.
  • manage its land and property using environmentally friendly practices that will promote biodiversity.
  • support local businesses & council operations in the adoption of low impact practices.
  • support residents and local organisation activities to enhance and promote biodiversity.

4. Actions

Planning applications –

  • The council, when commenting on planning applications, will support site and building design that benefits biodiversity through the conservation and integration of existing habitats or provision of new habitats.
  • It will support protection of sensitive habitats from development and will consider whether the development would mean the loss of important habitats for wildlife in respect of all applications.
  • It will consider what each proposed development might make in terms of biodiversity net gain.
  • It will include policies in support of biodiversity within the neighbourhood plan.

Land and property management

  • The council will carry out a biodiversity audit of its landholdings.
  • The council will consider the conservation and promotion of local biodiversity with regard to the management of its open spaces. This will include adopting beneficial practices with regarding to cutting and removal of vegetation, application of chemicals and timing of maintenance work.
  • Special care will be taken in the specification of grounds maintenance contracts to ensure that the work, whilst reaching acceptable standards, does not harm the natural environment.
  • The council will consider biodiversity issues and the implementation of changes when managing its buildings.

Local community –

  • The council will raise public awareness of biodiversity issues, including through its website and newsletters.
  • The council will engage with local businesses and residents regarding biodiversity in the community and how members of the community can assist and make a difference.
  • It will, where feasible, involve the community in biodiversity projects on its land including for example tree planting, wildflower meadows, birdbox making.

Partners –

  • St Stephen in Brannel parish council will work in partnership with other organisations to protect, promote and enhance biodiversity within areas of the parish.
  • It will review any local nature recovery strategies, species conservation strategies, or protected site strategies in respect of local sites of special scientific interest (SSSIs) and consider how it may become more involved in implementing the strategies’ recommendations. This policy will be reviewed each year at the Annual Meeting, together with a summary of how the policy has been implemented in the previous twelve months.

This policy will be reviewed each year at the Annual Meeting, together with a summary of how the policy has been implemented in the previous twelve months.

Whole council area
Protect and support biodiversity
Raise local awareness of biodiversity.

Encourage suitable planting to support biodiversity.
Gain local support for action.

Connect & diversify habitats to meet the needs of a variety of wildlife species


Cemetery / churchyardAdditional planting

Maintain and renew bird boxes as required.

Adopt a plan to support wildlife & diversity whilst maintaining the site in a way which enables visitors to experience quiet and calm remembrance.
Increased diversity of habitats and food sources.

Increased cover for invertebrates, reptiles, amphibians and small mammals.

Encouraging insects particularly butterflies & bees.
Recreation groundSympathetically maintain hedging.

Leave some areas unmown.

Only use environment friendly pesticides where absolutely necessary and only in ideal weather conditions.
Food sources & cover

Encourages insects.

Sustain & enhance natural habitats.

Common / other open spacesAdopt a management plan.

Encourage residents to remove litter and pick up after their dogs.

Work with the county council on verge management

Encourage residents to adopt areas to look after.
Sustain & enhance natural habitats.

Protecting habitats

Protecting/enhancing habitats

Regular attention.
The Built LandscapeEnsure that planning consultations are considered against the requirements of the Neighbourhood Plan

Encourage hedgehog/small animal highways with permeable boundaries
Protecting habitats

Extending Habitats
Increase community awareness of biodiversityAsk residents for their views on what they would like to be done to conserve biodiversity within the parish.

Raise awareness of the importance of gardens as habitats for wildlife, with possible actions highlighted in the parish magazine.

Create a page on the parish council website for photographs / information / links

Encourage local farmers to contribute.

Provide seed bombs / bulbs etc. for residents’ use.

Discourage floodlighting.
Engagement/ownership of biodiversity

Promote biodiversity.

Promote biodiversity.

Promote biodiversity.

Extending habitats.

Protect nocturnal animals.
Support Community ProjectsSupport hedge/tree planting in any appropriate areas.

Work in partnership with the school to develop young people’s awareness of the environment around them.

Consider events and offer volunteering opportunities to support biodiversity, working with local organisations.
Extending habitats

Promote biodiversity.

Promote biodiversity.

© Copyright 2023 – Society of Local Council Clerks (SLCC) – Adopted by Full Council at the meeting held on Wednesday 6th December 2023 under minute number FPC265/23. Due for review in May 2025.