Wildlife and Biodiversity
Biodiversity is a word that means “the variety of living things”. It indicates not just the vast array of life but also it’s inter-connectedness. Protection of biodiversity is important for many reasons.
- there is a moral argument for conserving that which exists for its own right;
- it provides us with what is known as ecosystem services – that is food, fresh air, clean water, insects that pollinate our crops, medicines and addresses climate change;
- it is known that a green and healthy environment is good for our own personal wellbeing, both physically and mentally.
We know we are losing our biodiversity with many species of animals and plants decreasing in the UK and across the world. It is becoming clear that only through co-ordinated policy and action will we halt these losses. It is now more important than ever that we conserve and enhance what remains.
Stafford Borough is a mainly rural area with a wide range of habitats that include many sites of local, national and some of international importance. There are three rivers, the Penk, Sow and Trent that eventually meet to the west of Stafford. In the northwest are the woodlands of Hanchurch and Bishop’s Wood. To the southeast is the heathland of Cannock Chase, designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. As part of the Meres and Mosses landscape, there are a variety of wetlands in the west of the borough such as Cop Mere, Loynton Moss and Aqualate Mere. To the east of Stafford is Chartley Moss, Britain’s largest example of Floating Bog. On the southern border of the Borough can be found Mottey Meadows, one of the best-preserved floodplain meadows in the country. In total there are 15 Special Sites of Scientific Interest (SSSI) two of which are National Nature Reserves. Additionally there are many Sites of Biological Importance (SBI) that are of county significance.
Our aims and objectives
"To conserve and enhance the characteristic biodiversity of Stafford
Borough for present and future generations.”
These relate to three key areas:
- Land Management - To halt the loss of biodiversity on our land and continue to reverse previous losses through targeted action for species and habitats enhancement
- Integration and Co-ordination - to develop an effective framework that
ensures biodiversity is considered in decision making in urban and rural environments
- Awareness - To increase understanding and enjoyment of biodiversity and to engage more people in its conservation and enhancement
Our Biodiversity Strategy (pdf 2mb) - Stafford Borough Council in conjunction with its partners will work towards creating a greener borough, rich in wildlife for residents to enjoy, which will contribute to their prosperity, health and wellbeing.
Wildlife Sites in the Borough
- Local Nature Reserves (LNRs) - The Council manages seven LNRs across the borough and also assists with Stone Town Council’s “Crown Meadow”. They are places that support a rich variety of wildlife and are important to local people, by enabling contact with the natural world. The reserves include examples of marsh, heath, reedbed, woodland and meadow. Many different plants, insects and animals live in these different habitats. Each site has its own five-year Management Plan, which can be viewed on our website via the Local Nature Reserves webpage.
Sites of Biological Importance (SBIs) - In Stafford Borough there are 173 sites designated for their wildlife value known as SBIs. These sites have a wide variety of good quality habitats and a range of species of county importance. They provide the backbone to Stafford Borough’s rich natural environment.
There are many fascinating wildlife sites worth visiting in Stafford Borough.
Staffordshire Wildlife Trust manages a number of these nature reserves. These are:
- Doxey Marshes
- Loynton Moss
- Radford Meadows
- Allimore Green
- Jackson’s Coppice and Marsh
- The National Trust own and manage:
- Downs Banks
- Downs Banks
- Natural England manage three sites:
- Mottey Meadows
- Aqualate Mere
- Chartley Moss
They are all worth visiting and have great wildlife interest, though you will have to check with Natural England for access to their sites as access
is limited to certain days and formal events.
Further information can be found on the following relevant websites:
- Staffordshire Wildlife Trust - All Nature Reserves
- The National Trust - Downs Bank
- Natural England - West Midlands NNRs
Biodiversity and Planning
Planning can contribute in many ways to the conservation of biodiversity. Development Control has to give consideration to protected species, habitats and designated sites. Forward Planning pays regard to the provision of green infrastructure, land use and future development.
The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF)
The NPPF published in 2012 replaces and streamlines previous planning guidance. It aims to provide guidance on sustainable development which is divided into three strands; economic, social and environmental.
The environmental strand, including biodiversity, is chiefly dealt with in Section 11 of the framework. In summary, this section requires the planning
- Minimise impacts on biodiversity and provide net gains in biodiversity where possible
- Recognise the wider benefits of ecosystem services
- Explore and encourage opportunities to incorporate biodiversity around developments
- Refuse planning permission if significant harm cannot be avoided, adequately mitigated or compensated for.
Partnership Working and Community Involvement
We work with a variety of partners in undertaking conservation work in the Borough. These include Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, Natural England, The Environment Agency and Stafford College.
There are many ways in which people have a part to play in helping
There are volunteering opportunities on many of the nature reserves in the Borough, including those owned by Staffordshire Wildlife Trust. Ferndown LNR has an active Friends Group that contribute to the running of the reserve in many ways.