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Recognising the importance of biodiversity to the Highlands (21/09/11)
To underline The Highland Council’s commitment to protecting the natural environment, members of the PED committee have approved a Biodiversity Duty Delivery Plan 2011-14 that will raise awareness and build on the protection and promotion of biodiversity of the Highlands.
Under the Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act 2004 it is the duty of all public bodies to further the conservation of biodiversity. Within The Highland Council this work has involved liaising with various Council Services to link biodiversity with the Best Value Review process, translating Local Biodiversity Action Plans into Council policy and programmes, and facilitating practical projects to “green” the Council.
The Council has also established a Highland Biodiversity Partnership, chaired by Councillor Audrey Sinclair, to make progress on key strategic biodiversity issues across the Highland Council area and provide guidance and support to the existing network of local biodiversity groups.
The Biodiversity Duty Delivery Plan builds on work already delivered or on-going and supports more partnership working. Currently Highland is one of the best Council’s in Scotland in terms of supporting activities of local biodiversity groups and leading the wide partnership of organisations who are members of the Highland Biodiversity Partnership.
Chairman of The PED Committee, Councillor Ian Ross said: “It is very important that we put measures in place that not only gives protection to our natural heritage but also enhances it to deliver economic, learning and health benefits. A lot of good work has been done and the implementation of this Delivery Plan will not only allow us to build on this but it will also provide a focus and a means of ensuring conservation of our rarest, most important or most threatened species and habitats for future generations. A rich and well protected biodiversity is a very important part of what makes the Highlands a place to visit, live and work.”
The Biodiversity Duty Delivery Plan develops four key themes including Service Action Plans for council services identified as being directly able to influence biodiversity through their day to day service delivery.
An annual report on progress made via the Plan will be presented to the PED Committee each year.