Blog - Protecting Nature
There is no pathway to net zero carbon without protecting and restoring nature. As ecology and landscape team leader Steve Williams explains in the second in our series of climate emergency blogs.
When going about our busy lives, climate change and nature loss can seem like abstract concepts. But the recent Gwent State of Nature Report, by the Welsh Government-funded Resilient Greater Gwent Project, provides the evidence.
For example, the charismatic Lapwing, which was once a common sight in Torfaen, is now a rarity. And lowland wildflower rich meadows are now restricted to just few isolated pockets.
Understanding the value of nature and the services it provides to society has come a long way in recent years, and public bodies now have a statutory duty to protect and enhance nature and ecosystems.
But making sustainable decisions requires a strategic approach. Torfaen Council has introduced its first Green Infrastructure Strategy, complete with a map of our green space assets, to help inform projects and plans such Torfaen’s Replacement Local Development Plan (RLDP).
Torfaen has the largest urban tree canopy in Wales. Mature trees absorb large amounts of carbon, contribute to flood mitigation and are good for biodiversity. A new Tree Strategy aims to pull together our responsibilities around trees, their management and enhancement.
But it’s not just about policies, plans and strategies, it’s about turning them into positive actions.
An example of this is the South East Wales Resilient Uplands Project, which has worked with partners to deliver practical land management activities - such as a project on Mynydd Maen, above Cwmbran, to restore an eroded peat bog to maximise its carbon storage and water holding properties.
Another example is the Resilient Greater Gwent scheme, which has resourced a wellbeing project to encourage NHS and social care staff to record local wildlife and create wetland habitats, and another to increase tree planting.
And through the Local Places for Nature project, Torfaen Council has introduced a programme of sustainable grassland management to encourage nature and remove carbon from the atmosphere.
By declaring both climate and nature emergencies, the council has recognised the urgency of the situation. It’s now down to everyone to make a contribution.
Last Modified: 21/11/2022
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