What is biodiversity?
Biodiversity, or biological diversity, is simply the assortment of all living things existing within an area. It is about the variety of life, protecting and enhancing a diverse range of plants, birds, animals and the habitats upon which they rely.
Why is biodiversity important
Since the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro it has been widely accepted that worldwide local action is required to halt the decline in species and habitats and to ensure continued global biological diversity.
At the Earth Summit the UK government signed the Biodiversity Convention which is an agreement to:
- enhance biodiversity
As part of this obligation councils are working in partnership with official agencies and non-governmental organisations to produce Local Biodiversity Action Plans (LBAPs).
The Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act 2004 places a duty on public bodies to further the conservation of biodiversity including a duty to protect nationally and regionally important biodiversity. The Scottish Biodiversity List has been produced under Section 2 (4) of the Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act 2004. Habitats and species on this list will be given special consideration with regard to the biodiversity duty.
East Renfrewshire has prepared a Biodiversity Duty Report [4Mb] which outlines our commitment to delivering our biodiversity duty.
You can find out more about the Scottish Biodiversity Strategy at the Biodiversity Scotland website.
For more information on the UK government's commitment to biodiversity visit the UK Biodiversity Action Plan website.
What are we doing locally to protect our biodiversity
Local Biodiversity Action Plans (LBAP) set out a range of actions for identified habitats and species which will increase local biodiversity.
You can download a copy of the Renfrewshire, East Renfrewshire and Inverclyde LBAP from the related documents section.
Although the content of the LBAP's is informed and guided by national targets they are developed to reflect the values of local people and to provide a focus for local initiatives and increase local biodiversity.
The LBAP for Renfrewshire, East Renfrewshire and Inverclyde was launched on 1 April 2004. It is a partnership initiative between the three local authorities and a range of conservation organisations.
The LBAP aims to focus resources through partnership action to:
- Implement conservation; and
- Increase awareness and appreciation of the various species of national and local importance found throughout the area and will involve everyone including local communities, landowners, scientists, industries and business in the process.
The LBAP is currently made up of:
- 7 Habitat Action Plans (HAPs)
- 11 Species Action Plans (SAPs)
These Action Plans outline the actions the LBAP Partnership will endeavour to undertake in order to conserve the habitat or species in question.
As more species and habitats are identified further HAPs and SAPs will be added.
You can download copies of the HAPs and SAPs from the related documents section.
The LBAP partnership produces local biodiversity newsletters keeping you up-to-date with what's happening. The newsletters are available to download from the related documents section.
Visit the LBAP Partnership website for more information about the work of Local Biodiversity Action Plan, a link is provided in the External websites section.
Local Biodiversity Sites
In addition, East Renfrewshire Council has identified a range of Local Biodiversity Sites which it considers are of local interest. A survey of Local Biodiversity Sites was undertaken in 2012 and has informed the preparation of the Proposed Local Development Plan and the identification of the green network which is described on the page:
You can view our Local Biodiversity Sites by viewing theLBS 2012 Survey. There is a help note in the related documents section to aid users in navigating around the survey.
Wider Protection of Species and Habitats
Although protected areas can safeguard species within their boundaries, some animals and plants are so vulnerable or threatened that they need legal protection wherever they occur. There are several pieces of legislation giving protection to species found in Scotland.
Some species are protected by international legislation under the EU Habitats and Species Directive. Species are also protected under national legislation, the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended by the Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act 2004).
Further information regarding Local Biodiversity Sites and the protection of habitats, species and landscapes can be obtained from the Scottish National Heritage: Legal framework or by contacting our Development Plans Team.