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Wildlife

1) This Council believes that the rich variety of wildlife in its area is an important treasure to be protected and safeguarded. Wild animals have the capacity to suffer stress and pain through direct abuse and through direct and indirect stress placed upon them by the destruction, reduction and pollution of their food and water sources and habitats.

2) This Council will produce a Local Biodiversity Action Plan. The plan will outline the strategic framework for protecting wildlife and habitats in the area. A range of policies and objectives will commit the Authority to supporting international and national policies and legislation on the protection of habitats and species. Specific policies in the plan will protect local species, their welfare and habitats and aim to sustain a viable network of local ecosystems in which wild animals can fulfil their life cycles.

3) All wildlife, from insects to birds, mammals and plants require a healthy environment in which to fulfil their life cycle requirement. This authority therefore recognises that the welfare of wild animals in the County cannot be separated from the welfare afforded to the complete range of wildlife and their habitats that together constitute what is known as the biodiversity of the area.

4) The UK Sustainable Development strategy identifies specific targets and indicators for a sustainable healthy natural environment. The UK strategy identifies the population of wild birds as a key indicator of a healthy, natural environment for all wildlife as well as wild animals and all local residents.

5) Taking into account national and local strategies which directly affect the welfare of wild animals, this Council will ensure, wherever possible, the welfare of wild animals is protected.

6) The Council recognises that changes to the natural environment through land use changes or changes in management practices may directly or indirectly adversely affect the ability of habitats and ecosystems to sustain viable populations of wild animals and plants.

7) The Council recognises that the welfare of wild animals is inseparable from the protection of their habitats and the natural systems that support their life cycles and those habitats and species are easily destroyed and harm can be irreversible. This Council is therefore committed to implementing all the key policies and proposals for the welfare and protection of wild animals as approved within the Nature Conservation Strategy.

8) A database of local wildlife species, both animals and plants, and habitats, which is accessible to the local community, is seen as integral to fulfilling our biodiversity objectives and will serve to act as a monitor of our success in fulfilling these objectives and monitoring wild animal welfare in the area.

9) The County has rare, threatened and legally protected species of animal within its administrative jurisdiction. The Council will therefore endeavour to ensure their continued survival through research, habitat management, public education and monitoring.

10) The Council supports the construction of road crossings and other innovative measures to safeguard wild animals in the area. Wherever possible, the Council will encourage developers to safeguard the welfare of wild animals and their habitats.

11) The Council will, wherever possible, alert all developers to the presence of protected species of animal on any proposed development site, or where they reside nearby and may be affected by loss of habitats, and will alert them to relevant legislation protecting wild animals and their habitats.

12) The Council will encourage the use of management and legal agreements as part of the Planning process to ensure adequate management of land, which may be affected by development and, further, will encourage the designation of Local Nature Reserves as a positive commitment to safeguarding wild animals and their habitats.

13) The Council will encourage the development and use of educational and interpretative materials to raise awareness of wild animals in the area.

14) The Council will consult with local residents and groups who have considerable local knowledge, experience and expertise in the welfare and study of wild animals to assist in the formation of strategies and action plans to support wildlife in the area.

15) The Council opposes the indiscrimination destruction of animal habitats. This will be borne in mind when granting planning consents. Developers will be required to mitigate where damage is unavoidable.

16) Management of the Council’s parks, gardens and open spaces will be modified where possible to give greater priority to ecological considerations, and uncontrolled public access will be excluded from the most sensitive areas/habitats.