The many achievements and ongoing commitment we have for enhancing and protecting biodiversity in Angus is highlighted in a report presented to our Policy and Resources Committee.
Our Statutory Biodiversity Duty Report on Delivery highlights the progress made during 2015 to 2017 in conserving biodiversity when carrying out our work under the Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act 2004 and The Wildlife and Natural Environment (Scotland) Act 2011.
It details the progress being made in taking forward the Scottish Biodiversity Strategy 2020 Challenge for Scotland's Biodiversity, and Scotland’s Biodiversity – A Route Map to 2020 , which promotes the Big Six Steps for Nature - ecosystem restoration; investment in natural capital; quality green space for health and education benefits; conserving wildlife in Scotland; sustainable management of freshwater; and the restoration of marine and coastal ecosystems. These steps are all included in the 2nd Edition Tayside Biodiversity Action Plan 2016-26.
The report shows the breadth of activities delivered by the council which help to protect and enhance the area’s biodiversity. Highlights during the three-year-period from 1 January 2015 to 31 December 2017, which illustrate the strength of ongoing partnership working in Angus and the dedication to species and habitat conservation are many. They have involved services from across the council, and partner organisations working with and within local communities.
Among the range of work that contribute to the Angus Local Outcomes Improvement Plan and Locality Plans are -
The launch of the Tayside Biodiversity Partnership’s Local Biodiversity Action Plan 2016-2026, which sets the agenda for protecting the multitude of flora and fauna that flourish across Angus, as well as their habitats, and brings together organisations, communities and individuals. It contains more than 140 projects for people to get involved in.
The first ever Small Blue Week launched in 2017 aimed at growing and conserving small blue butterfly populations along the Angus coast. More than 10 events took place in Angus, with Woodlands Primary School in Carnoustie – who became out first species champion - leading the way. The event proved so popular, it will be held again in June this year.
The three-year Angus Orchard Project has seen 357 fruit trees planted to form 63 orchards in schools, nurseries and country parks. In all, 75 groups have been involved and a wide variety of fruit trees planted.
Since 2015, Angus has seen a greater number of beaches adopted, surveyed and cleaned than ever before, with the council working with partners to deliver local initiatives such as Capturing Our Coast, Marine Conservation Society beach cleans and FIDRA nurdle hunts
In the report, our Chief Executive Margo Williamson hails Angus as one of the most biologically rich areas of Scotland – home to a local biodiversity that we can be proud to share with residents and visitors.
Margo said: “Beneficial insects pollinate our crops and the land provides raw materials for our well-known food and drink industries, as well as materials for buildings and roads. Angus Council, community planning partners and nature conservation bodies are still very much committed to working together to conserve our special natural heritage.
“The Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act 2004 requires every council employee to have a legal duty to conserve and enhance biodiversity. Across all our services we continue to develop the best way to do this, ensuring other policies and initiatives contribute to biodiversity. By involving local communities and council officers in projects, we can raise awareness of a very wide range of biodiversity issues across the county and further embed more work being carried out to safeguard our important Angus species and habitats.”
Collating the range of work that is undertaken within Angus Council’s many services shows the vast range of activity that teams are involved with as part of their regular work. Tremendous progress has been made to increase awareness of biodiversity as the report demonstrates. Ongoing monitoring will enable further reporting on existing projects and help identify new opportunities and projects.