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Natural environment

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The Council provides advice and information on the protection and enhancement of the District's natural environment.

The biodiversity officer is responsible for the production and delivery of the Cherwell biodiversity action plan (BAP). The ecology officer assesses planning applications that impact upon important sites, habitats and species.

Our biodiversity service

The Cherwell BAP, which is updated and reviewed annually, sets out how we will fulfil our duty under the Natural Environment and Rural Communities (NERC) Act 2006 and meet other biodiversity legislation and policy requirements.

The 2005-2010 BAP provided a comprehensive working document that helped to focus attention and resources on those habitats and species that are particularly important in the district. Although many of the objectives and actions are out of date, the document provides useful background information about sites, habitats and species.

Both BAPs are available to download from this page.

National context

Biodiversity 2020 is a national strategy for England's wildlife and ecosystem services which was published in 2011. It sets out the Government's ambition to halt overall loss of England's biodiversity by 2020, support healthy well-functioning ecosystems and establish coherent ecological networks, with more and better places for nature for the benefit of wildlife and people.

For a summary of the document, which emphasises the importance of local conservation projects to the delivery of the national strategy's outcomes, see downloads on this page.

Oxfordshire BAP and conservation target areas

Biodiversity action at a County level is co-ordinated by Wild Oxfordshire, Oxfordshire's Local Nature Partnership. It manages the conservation target area project.

Conservation target areas (CTAs) have been established for a total of 36 large areas across the county and are the most important areas for wildlife where targeted conservation work will have the greatest benefit. These areas cover 17% of the entire county and include 95% of all the sites of special scientific interest (SSSI), 75% of all the local wildlife sites and 85% of all the mapped UK BAP habitat.

CTAs have been identified as they present the best opportunities for prioritising the conservation, enhancement, and re-creation of both designated sites and important habitats. They also form the focus of efforts for reconnecting habitats and creating networks across Oxfordshire. 22 CTAs in the County are active - in other words there is a lead organization that is co-ordinating conservation projects in each of these areas.

For further information about the Oxfordshire BAP and CTAs, download the summary document from this page and/or visit the Wild Oxfordshire website under useful links.

For further information about SSSIs, visit the Natural England website under useful links and go to land management and then protected sites.

For further information about local wildlife sites and the 'living list' of sites in the Cherwell district, visit the TVERC website under useful links and go to local wildlife sites.

Our partners and projects

Many of the aims and actions within the Cherwell BAP are delivered through the funding of a number of key biodiversity organisations. For further information, go to the Biodiversity Partners webpage  

The Cherwell swift conservation project was established in 2008 and aims to:

•identify and protect swift nest sites in the district

•increase nest places for swifts in identified suitable sites

•improve local knowledge of swifts, their life history and the risks they face, particularly from building work.

For further information, go to the Swifts conservation project webpage 

Parish Councils and communities can provide vital help for wildlife by appreciating, protecting and enhancing biodiversity in their local area. Go to the Community and Parish Biodiversity Guidance webpage for more information.

Biodiversity and planning

Some of the important sites, habitats and species in Cherwell are protected by legislation, others by planning policy. Guidance is available in a comprehensive document "Biodiversity and Planning in Oxfordshire" - see downloads on this page.

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