Public awareness of the importance of the natural environment, open spaces and wildlife has increased significantly during the COVID-19 crisis. By declaring an ecological or nature emergency the Council is acknowledging the huge and unprecedented declines in species, habitats and natural capital caused by humans over the last hundred years.
One in seven UK species is now at risk of extinction. Since the 1930s, 97 per cent of the UK’s ancient wildflower meadows have been destroyed. There’s been a 76 per cent decline in flying insects since 1990 and pollinators, such as bees, are particularly struggling.
Cllr Rachel Coxcoon, Cabinet Member for Climate Change, said: “Climate change is putting further pressure on biodiversity and loss of biodiversity is helping to drive climate change, so the two are inextricably linked.
“To address the ecological emergency and to help reverse it, we will prioritise our work to deliver a wide range of actions to help drive biodiversity and green initiatives in the Cotswolds. We will take a leadership role on the ecological emergency and natural recovery in the district by working with, influencing and inspiring partners across the County and South West region to help deliver nature recovery.”
Doug Hulyer, Chair of the Gloucestershire Local Nature Partnership, said: “Biodiversity and natural capital are the backbones for all activity – economic, social and natural. They provide vital services to society but are under threat from the twin challenges of land-use change and climate change.
“It is vital we act swiftly to put nature at the heart of decision-making, and the declaration of an ecological emergency is a bold step in that direction. The Gloucestershire Local Nature Partnership wholeheartedly applaud Cotswold District Council for this action.”
The Council has developed an Ecological Emergency Action Plan to help guide the way towards nature recovery in the district.
For more information please view the Full Council report.