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Land and Nature

The UK is home to a rich and diverse variety of wildlife, even in urban Birmingham there’s much we can do to support our treasured species. Since 1970, 41% of all UK species studied have declined, and as many as 26% of our mammals are at real risk of extinction. In order to preserve our unique land and nature we must protect and restore land and marine systems, benefitting both wildlife and the people that can then enjoy them.

How to make a change in your community

  • Campaign for reducing light pollution, encourage local shops to minimise overnight lighting.
  • Introduce nature friendly zones, including native plants and wildflowers to support a diverse range of species.
  • Reduce verge cutting to the bare minimum, and allow ‘weeds’ and wildflowers to grow instead, to support pollinators.
  • Run a tree planting scheme, particularly in public areas like schools, where charities often provide free or low cost planting packages. Encourage tree planting in the local community in private housing and gardens as well. Have a look online for scheme running in your area.
  • Identify possible areas for the creation of ‘green corridors’ to link existing green space and allow nature and wildlife to move around the area. Improve connectivity to support wildlife and improve biodiversity.
  • Protect existing green space against development, campaign for the creation of new parks.
  • Support community litter picking initiatives.
  • Promote wildlife friendly gardening: do not use pesticides, which are harmful to human health as well as insect and bee populations. Limit fertilisers to organic varieties, which will be better for the soil and safer for nearby water sources. Use forest friendly wood and peat free compost to help nature near and far. Compost containing peat releases vast amounts of CO2 to the environment and damages rare habitats when it is extracted. Ban the use of pesticides in public areas, and campaign against their use in residential and privately owned spaces.
  • Install wildlife friendly features including bird feeders, watering points, bug hotels, ponds, hanging baskets for pollinators, bat boxes, and hedgehog gateways.
  • Promote opportunities for the local community to interact with nature, for example for gardening days and events, or volunteering schemes.

Example Actions

  • Organise a community litter pick
  • Find a tree planting scheme running in your area, and identify areas for planting for community benefit
  • Ban pesticides for use in public spaces

Useful Links

ecobirmingham’s Power to Grow project supports volunteers to set up and run community gardens. https://ecobirmingham.com/project/power2grow/

Trees for Cities are an international charity working towards large scale tree planting. https://www.treesforcities.org/

Naturally Birmingham have advice on starting a community garden, and many more resources on bringing nature to the city. https://naturallybirmingham.org/community-gardening-2/

Birmingham City Council have guides and support for running litter picking sessions. https://www.birmingham.gov.uk/downloads/download/2243/community_litter_picking

Pesticide Action Network UK provide information on pesticides, and more environmentally friendly alternatives. https://www.pan-uk.org/

Bee Friendly Brum is a community group who care about our bee and insect populations. With a focus on protecting bee species in our urban spaces, they share ideas about what we can do both personally and collectively through influencing local policy, to help these wonderful and vital pollinators thrive in our local areas. https://www.facebook.com/Bee-Friendly-Brum-104657705232855/

Suggested Tools

Bioregional offer Sustainability Consulting for Local Authorities. https://www.bioregional.com/projects-and-services/built-environment-consultancy/local-authorities

Net Zero Navigator tool for identifying and building plans to reach net-zero in UK local authority areas. https://netzero-navigator.oneplanet.com/ 

Join the Climate Emergency Network on Knowledge Hub, for sharing information between local authorities https://khub.net/web/climatelocal 

Local Government Association – Climate change hub, includes tools such as Greenhouse Gas Accounting tool for identifying baselines. https://www.local.gov.uk/our-support/climate-change-hub

Support local businesses to pledge to reducing their environmental impact with the West Midlands Net Zero Business Pledge https://www.wmca.org.uk/what-we-do/environment-and-energy/west-midlands-net-zero-business-pledge/ 

Ashden Sustainability plan Toolkit for Councils: https://ashden.org/tools-for-councils/ 

Funding 

The National Audit Office Report into Local Government and Net Zero identified £1.2 billion in specific grant funding available in 2020-2021 for local authorities to act on climate change, and notes this is a sixteen-fold increase on the previous year.

Have a look here for advice on tree planting and woodland creation: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/tree-planting-and-woodland-creation-funding-and-advice#tree-planting-and-woodland-creation-grants-and-incentives

Download an Action Plan so you can set your own goals!





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