Community Nature Plan approved for future generations

An update on Cherwell’s Community Nature Plan has been approved, reaffirming a strong commitment to the natural environment for people and wildlife in north Oxfordshire.

Published: Friday, 8th January 2021

The plan, which sets out aims, actions and targets relating to key council services in terms of their impact on the health of the natural environment, was reviewed by an Executive meeting of Cherwell District Council on Monday evening (4 January). The importance the environment has played in supporting people’s wellbeing during the coronavirus pandemic was particularly highlighted.

Councillor Andrew McHugh, Cherwell’s lead member for health and wellbeing said: “We don’t own the environment. We hold it in trust for future generations. Whilst growth in our region is important, brining prosperity and enabling people to live and work here, it is our statutory duty to make sure the natural environment is also protected and improved. But even if this was not the case, it is our moral responsibility to keep watch over our precious wild areas.”

Cherwell’s Community Nature Plan aims to enhance the natural environment for its intrinsic value; the services it provides; the health and wellbeing of people; its contribution to action on climate change and the economic prosperity that it brings.

It also highlights the crucial partnership work between Cherwell and other organisations, in promoting, enhancing and protecting the valuable green spaces in the area.

The report comes as a new project is being launched in Bicester, promoting biodiversity, health and wellbeing. Wild Bicester is based on a similar model developed in Banbury by the Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust (BBOWT), with the support of Banbury Town Council and Cherwell District Council, encouraging residents to take part in projects to protect and improve the wildlife in their local area.

The scheme is co-funded by Healthy Bicester, Bicester Garden Town and the council’s wellbeing team, due to the importance the project places on developing sociable, healthy neighbourhoods while enhancing the natural environment of the town.

Wild Bicester has already formed early relationships with environmental groups in the town, including Langford Community Orchard and Bicester Green Gym, using their experience and expertise to help lay the foundations of the programme.

Pam Roberts from Langford Community Orchard said: “Wild Bicester will give our project a fantastic boost so that we can do more for wildlife in the Orchard with the expert guidance of BBOWT. The Orchard is already a beautiful space for wildlife as well as people, but Wild Bicester will help us do even more."