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.
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.
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 email@example.com
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.
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.
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.