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Natural environment

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The countryside and communities team provides advice and information on the protection and enhancement of the district's natural environment.

We are responsible for the production and delivery of the corporate biodiversity action plan (BAP).We assess planning applications that impact upon important sites, habitats and species.

Our biodiversity service

The corporate 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 Cherwell biodiversity action plan provided a 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 no longer relevant, the document provides useful background information about sites, habitats and species.

Both BAPs are available to download (see right).

National context

In 1992 the UK and 158 other governments signed the Convention on Biological Diversity at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. The UK BAP was produced to define those habitats and species that are a priority for conservation action - action plans have been produced for each. Meeting the targets in each action plan requires work at a local level.

Oxfordshire BAP and conservation target areas

Biodiversity action at a County level is co-ordinated by Wild Oxfordshire. It manages the conservation target area project.

Conservation target areas (CTAs) have been established for a total of 36 large areas across the county. These areas cover 17% of the entire county, 95% of all the sites of special scientific interest (SSSI) in the county, 75% of the local wildlife sites, and 85% of all the mapped UK BAP habitat for the county.

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.

The conservation target area approach championed in Oxfordshire is now also being pursued in other counties (including Berkshire and Buckinghamshire), and is seen as the principal strategic mechanism for achieving local BAP targets.

For further information about the Oxfordshire BAP and CTAs, download the summary document (see right) 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 designated 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 TVERC data and then local wildlife sites.

Our partners and projects

Many of the aims and actions within the corporate BAP are delivered through the funding of a number of key biodiversity organisations. For further information, go to the biodiversity partners page.

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 page

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 page for more information.

Biodiversity and planning

Some of the important sites, habitats and species in Cherwell are protected by legislation, others by planning policy. For a comprehensive summary, see the "Biodiversity and Planning" document under downloads (see right).

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