Vale of Glamorgan Council declares nature emergency
A nature emergency has been declared by the Vale of Glamorgan Council in a bid to protect biodiversity in the county.
The move was agreed unanimously at a meeting of full Council on Monday and places the issue at the heart of the organisation’s decision making.
Cllr Lis Burnett, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Education, and Cllr Neil Thomas, Ward Member for St Augustines took the motion to the meeting.
Closely linked to work taking place in response to the climate emergency announced by the Council in 2019, this recognises the threat wildlife is facing due to rising temperatures.
A special report on global warming published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in October 2018 indicated that if temperatures increase by only 1.5 degrees Celsius, six per cent of insects, eight per cent of plants and eight per cent of vertebrates would be lost.
Those figures rise to 18, 16 and eight per cent respectively if the world was two degrees warmer.
The ‘State of Nature 2019’ National Biodiversity Network (NBN) found that around eight per cent of species found in Wales (523) are threatened with extinction from Britain, 17 per cent (666) are threatened with extinction from Wales and 73 have become extinct already.
Cllr Burnett said: “Climate change is a huge challenge globally, one that the Council and other institutions across the world must look to address.
“Having declared a climate emergency in 2019, we have begun taking steps to tackle this problem and have launched Project Zero, our plan to become carbon neutral by 2030.
“But more needs to be done, with particular attention paid to the threat to biodiversity. Protecting biodiversity is as important as tackling climate change. The impact of the latter can mean that species and the food they need are out of sync. For example, the caterpillars that blue tits and great tits need to feed their young might not be available at the right time of year because the leaves those caterpillars feed on bloomed either too early or too late.
“That is why I asked the Council to also declare a nature emergency and put in place specific plans to protect our wildlife. I am delighted that we have now committed to a target of no net loss to biodiversity in the Vale of Glamorgan.”
The Council is already planning to engage with Welsh Government’s forthcoming Global Biodiversity Framework, which aims to achieve no net loss in biodiversity.
Representations will also be made to both Welsh and UK governments on matters relating to this issue in an effort to secure powers, resources and technical support.
Work with local, regional and national partners will also continue to develop and implement best practice methods that can protect Wales’ biodiversity.
On a more local level, the Council will engage with relevant parties to develop a strategy that can safeguard the County’s natural environment while also benefiting areas such as employment, health, agriculture, transport and the economy.