A new Edinburgh Biodiversity Action Plan 2016–2018

A new Edinburgh Biodiversity Action Plan for 2016 to 2018 has been approved by the Council’s Corporate Policy and Strategy Committee.

Edinburgh’s unique geology creates a very special natural environment and helps to bring biodiversity right into the heart of the city.  Our location between the Pentland Hills and Firth of Forth gives us a wide variety of important habitats, including the coastal areas which are of global importance for some birds species in winter.

Dublin Street - view to Fife
Dublin Street – view to Fife

The plan is delivered by the Edinburgh Biodiversity Partnership.  The Partnership has over 30 members.  Led by the Council’s Planning and Transport Service, partners have worked hard in recent months to produce this fourth Edinburgh Biodiversity Action Plan.  It contains over 250 actions and reflects all of the exciting collaborative work planned for the next three years.  Engagement with stakeholders and local communities continues to be at the heart of the Plan.

Heron, Water of Leith
Heron, Water of Leith

For the first time, the Plan contains specific actions relating to the built environment.  This reflects an increasing recognition of the relationship between the built and natural environments, in relation to climate change mitigation, green infrastructure and the water environment in particular.  There are also sections on Green and Blue Networks (connected water habitats – rivers, ponds, lochs and sea), Geodiversity (rocks, minerals, sediments and soils) and Species.

Salisbury Crags from Warrender Park Crescent
Salisbury Crags from Warrender Park Crescent

A celebration and launch event is planned during Edinburgh Biodiversity Week (21 – 29 May 2016).  For more information contact us at biodiversity@edinburgh.gov.uk

EBAP NEW BIOD LOGO

A busy year ahead for the Edinburgh Biodiversity Partnership

2016 will be an eventful year for the Edinburgh Biodiversity Partnership, led by the City of Edinburgh Council. A fourth Edinburgh Biodiversity Action Plan (2016-18) is being prepared which includes an exciting range of projects and activities to improve the city for wildlife and people. The Plan will be launched in the spring this year, followed by a programme of events throughout the year.

The Partnership works with local communities across Edinburgh to deliver biodiversity improvements. A mix of local and national partners such as Water of Leith Conservation Trust, Edinburgh and Lothian Greenspace Trust, Historic Environment Scotland, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, RSPB Scotland and Scottish Wildlife Trust and of course ourselves at the Council, all contribute to the Plan. These partners work with community groups, schools and volunteers to support some fantastic projects. Programmes such as RSPB Giving Nature a Home, Edinburgh Living Landscape and the Eco-schools programme all help to deliver the aims of the Edinburgh Biodiversity Action Plan.

Moveable feast – Volunteers learning about edible plants in the city.
Moveable feast – Volunteers learning about edible plants in the city.

Edinburgh also has a wealth of voluntary expert naturalist groups and individuals who carry out invaluable survey and monitoring work as well as practical tasks (such as meadow management) to help rare – and less rare – species. Some of our wildlife monitoring programmes have been running for over 15 years, and they help us to understand longer term environmental changes. The new Edinburgh Biodiversity Action Plan will build on the success of this previous work.

If you’d like to get in touch email us at biodiversity@edinburgh.gov.uk or for more information about the action plan visit www.edinburgh.gov.uk/biodiversity

Yellow rattle – A wildflower meadow at Burdiehouse Burn Valley Park
Yellow rattle – A wildflower meadow at Burdiehouse Burn Valley Park

Conservation of Swifts – RSPB Edinburgh talk

In a first for Edinburgh, the UK expert on the conservation of Swifts, Edward Mayer, is giving a talk on Wednesday 15 April, 7.30pm at the Lindsay Stewart Lecture Theatre, Napier Craiglockhart Campus, Colinton Road.  The event is organised by the RSPB Edinburgh members group and supported by Edinburgh World Heritage.

Swift conservation talk
Swift conservation talk

The number of swifts has greatly declined in Edinburgh.  These birds nest in tiny spaces in older buildings, and return to the same nest year after year.  As our buildings, especially tenements, have been repaired and restored, some nesting spaces have been lost.  This is why Swifts have been a priority in the Edinburgh Biodiversity Action Plan since it was first published in 2000.

In recent years the Planning and Building Standards Service has promoted the creation of new nest sites by asking for hollow nesting ‘bricks’ to be included in new buildings.  This has helped to create new potential nest sites across the city.  There have also been projects to promote nests on existing buildings.  Our guidance note on Swifts and developments contains more information on how to do this.  If you have any queries about Swifts in Edinburgh or biodiversity in general, please get in touch with us at biodiversity@edinburgh.gov.uk

From Planning to Parks – biodiversity in Edinburgh

All public bodies in Scotland are legally required to look after biodiversity and report on how this is being achieved to Scottish Government.  We published a report in December last year on the wide range of activities undertaken to improve biodiversity in Edinburgh.

There are lots of good examples of the Council and partners working together in Edinburgh.  We’ve helped nesting Swifts by including special hollow bricking in new buildings, developed natural areas in our parks and supported people in looking after their local environment and wildlife.  We’ve also supported the expansion of woodland in the Pentland Hills Regional Park.  More information is available in the report to our Policy and Strategy Committee and you can read our update on what projects have been progressing in the Edinburgh Local Biodiversity Action Plan 2013/14.

If you have any queries about biodiversity in Edinburgh, drop us an email at Biodiversity@edinburgh.gov.uk

Edinburgh Biodiversity Action Plan routemap: 2016 and beyond

The process to review the Edinburgh Biodiversity Action Plan has commenced with fifty people attending a workshop event in the City Chambers on 12 November to begin the preparation of a new plan.  The current action plan runs until the end of 2015.

Edinburgh Biodiversity Action Plan
Edinburgh Biodiversity Action Plan

Members of the Edinburgh Biodiversity Partnership (they’re all listed on pages 79-80 of the action plan) and other stakeholders attended the event, which included workshop discussions on the format, timescale, lessons learnt and new priorities for 2016 and beyond.

The outcomes from these discussions will be collated by the Natural Environment team in the Planning and Building Standards service, who will lead on the production of the new plan, and taken forward by the Edinburgh Biodiversity Steering Group.  We’ve prepared a short summary of the workshops and if you have any queries please drop us an email at Biodiversity@edinburgh.gov.uk  We will be posting more information here on the blog in the coming months and letting you know how to get involved in the preparation and delivery of the new plan.