A strategy for Kent’s natural environment, with the vision of a county thriving with wildlife and plants, has been approved by Kent’s environment champion.
KCC Cabinet Member for Environment Susan Carey approved the Kent Biodiversity Strategy which aims to ensure the county’s natural environment regains and retains good health.
Kent has a rich and varied biodiversity with globally rare habitats from vegetated shingle at Dungeness, ancient chalk grasslands of the Kent Downs and the marine chalk reef around our coast.
The Garden of England also supports over 20,000 different species, nearly 30% of all those found in the UK.
Over 3,400 of those are rare and threatened, such as the Lizard Orchid and Shrill Carder Bee.
To ensure Kent retains this special natural resource, the county needs a strong and coherent strategy for its natural heritage.
Susan said: “It was my privilege to take the decision that KCC adopt the Kent Nature Partnership Biodiversity Strategy.
“The strategy steers the collective action of partners in Kent so that the county’s natural landscape can be restored, and threatened species can be saved.
“It sets out the contribution Kent can make to the government’s ambition to ‘leave our environment in a better state than we found it’ and this strategy provides us with the framework for coordinated action across our beautiful county.”
The Kent Biodiversity Strategy aims to deliver, over a 25-year period, the maintenance, restoration and creation of habitats that are thriving with wildlife and plants, ensuring the county’s terrestrial, freshwater, intertidal and marine environments regain and retain good health.
The strategy looks to protect and recover threatened species and enhance the wildlife habitats that Kent is particularly important for.
It also aims to provide a natural environment that inspires citizen engagement and is well used and appreciated, so that the mental and physical health benefits of such a connection can be realised by the people of Kent.
Whilst the strategy has a 25-year timeframe, its delivery will be planned on a five-year basis with a review during this time to ensure it continues to respond to environmental pressures and national policy drivers.
It is intended that the targets will be owned by all those that can drive the action needed to realise the strategy’s vision, including statutory agencies, local planning authorities, landowners and non-governmental organisations.
The success of the strategy will depend on the county’s collective action.
Chair of the Kent Nature Partnership Dr Caroline Jessel said: “So many recent reports on the state of biodiversity tell us that nature is now at a crisis point.
“It is vital that we act decisively, and act fast, if we are to reverse this trend and create a sustainable future for all of us.
“The Kent Nature Partnership, and this strategy, provides a robust framework for coordinated action for wildlife across our beautiful county.”
Leader of Medway Council and Kent Nature Partnership Board member Cllr Alan Jarrett said: “The Kent Biodiversity Strategy clearly sets out our intentions to champion the natural world and deliver a healthy environment for Kent and Medway’s wildlife.
“Although the strategy is for 25 years it is important we act now to protect our natural environment for future generations. The strategy will also help us to deliver our climate change responsibilities.”