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Birmingham City Council

Nature conservation: Guidelines for Action

Nature conservation: Guidelines for Action

Introduction



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A Strategy like this can only be successfully put into action if all sections of the community play their part. Everyone can do something to help Birmingham's wildlife and to look after the places where it lives. Every City Council department, school, private company, public service, community group and development agency can play its part. This section gives some ideas to help people to take effective action.

Individuals
  • Gardens can be a valuable habitat for wildlife. Include plants that will provide food and cover for birds, mammals and insects; a pond; a bird table and bird bath if you cannot have a pond; a wood pile; and an undisturbed area for animals to shelter and hibernate.
  • Reduce your use of chemicals in the garden and in the home, use a compost heap and garden organically.
  • Enjoy the natural open spaces in your area and find out more about them.

Community Groups


  • Carry out a survey of your local area; get to know the places that might be good for wildlife and people and where there might be opportunities to improve or create others.
  • Discuss with neighbours what they think about the local natural open spaces, and what could be done for such places.

Voluntary Groups


  • Consider how your organisation could help nature conservation, such as by working on site based projects; working with community groups, children, people with special needs; carrying out ecological surveys; growing plants or making nest boxes; providing training; using the natural open spaces as venues for events to introduce your members to wildlife in Birmingham.
  • Go to the City Council's Environmental Forum and consider joining West Midlands Environment Network. Working in partnership with other organisations can often achieve more than working alone.

Developers


  • Before buying land ascertain its nature conservation value: seek to retain and incorporate natural features in new developments and seek expert advice if necessary.
  • Where a landscape scheme is required as part of planning permission try to create new habitats: plant trees and shrubs, if possible, from local seed sources or create ponds. Avoid simply putting down rye grass and planting exotic trees.
  • If you own vacant sites try to leave existing vegetation, or plant up a low cost urban forestry scheme and allow for natural regeneration.

Business Sector


  • Find out the wildlife value and potential of your land (see Strategy Map) and ensure its wildlife interest is retained by suitable management. Seek expert advice from the City Council or other specialists.
  • Enhance the nature conservation value of your land by habitat creation: plant trees, shrubs and flowers; create a pond and introduce a bird bath and bird table and provide signs, seats and paths to encourage your employees and clients to enjoy the wildlife in your grounds.
  • Consider joining the Midlands Environment Business Club and network with other businesses with an interest in nature conservation in the City.
  • Sponsor events, awards and competitions to generate ideas and practical action for the local environment.

Private Landowners


  • Find out the wildlife value of your land (see Strategy Map) and ensure that its wildlife interest is retained by suitable management. This may mean, for example, cutting the grass less often. Seek expert advice if necessary, from the City Council or Urban Wildlife Trust or other environmental advisor.
  • Enhance the conservation value of your land by habitat creation: a new pond, or additional planting of trees and shrubs, perhaps from local seed sources.
  • If possible, allow access by the local community or schools to some of your land.

Government Departments and Special Environmental Agencies


  • Provide advice and information on wildlife issues for landowners, local communities and the City Council (especially relevant for agencies with specialist conservation staff such as English Nature, The Environment Agency and British Waterways).
  • Have as an objective the support of urban nature conservation. The majority of people live in urban areas and they should have easy access to areas of nature conservation value.
  • Provide sponsorship and grant aid for nature conservation projects.
  • Ensure that your land is managed using good conservation principles, including, where appropriate, low-input management to allow habitat development.

Statutory Undertakers


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    Find out the location of wildlife sites in your area from the City Council (see Strategy Map) and make sure this information is passed on to relevant staff.
  • Liaise with the City Council or English Nature when planning to carry out work which may affect sites of nature conservation value.
  • Manage your own sites to enhance or create wildlife value, for instance by appropriate management and additional planting of trees and shrubs, perhaps grown from local seed sources.
  • Adopt codes of conduct within your organisation for work on sensitive sites.

Managers of Public Buildings


  • Hospitals, churches, community centres, schools and other public buildings are often set in their own grounds. Find out the wildlife value of your grounds and ensure that it is protected, enhanced and enjoyed by your visitors (see Strategy Map).
  • Consider habitat creation by planting new trees, shrubs and flowers, creating a pond and introducing bird baths or bird tables.
  • Consider the potential for establishing part of your grounds as a nature reserve and allowing extra access to local schools and residents in addition to your usual visitors.
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