A strategy for the restoration and creation of habitats in Kent that are thriving with wildlife and plants is going out to public consultation.
The Kent Biodiversity Strategy consultation launches today (Monday) and 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 supports some equally rare species, such as the Lizard Orchid and Shrill Carder Bee.
The Kent Biodiversity Strategy sets out how the county will deliver healthy and sustainable biodiversity in Kent.
Chair of the Kent Nature Partnership 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.”
Kent is home to over 20,000 different species, nearly 30% of all found in the UK. Over 3,400 of those are rare and threatened; as an example, five of the UK’s seven rarest bumblebee species are in Kent, making it the most important county in the UK for bumblebee species diversity.
Deputy cabinet member for the environment and Kent Nature Partnership Board member Michael Payne said: “Kent well lives up to its name as the Garden of England, with a rich landscape that supports a wonderful array of special and rare wildlife.
“It is important that the county plays its role in addressing the decline of biodiversity. We must act – and not just for nature’s sake but also for our own, as nature plays an essential role in our lives providing for so much of our very existence.
“The Kent Biodiversity Strategy also forms part of Kent County Council’s commitment to recognise the UK Environment and Climate emergency.”
Leader of Medway Council and Kent Nature Partnership Board member Alan Jarrett said: “This is a critical time to act for biodiversity and take the steps needed to secure our natural environment for future generations.
“The Kent Biodiversity Strategy clearly sets our intentions to deliver thriving wildlife and a healthy environment and hence champion the natural world.”
The strategy has several goals, specifically that by 2044, Kent will have:
• a rich and growing biodiversity, with resilient ecological networks and healthy, well-functioning ecosystems
• clean, productive and biologically diverse water ecosystems
• made its contribution to reversing the loss of marine biodiversity and delivering clean, productive and biologically diverse oceans and seas through good management
• the widest possible range of ages and backgrounds will be benefiting from the mental and physical health benefits of the natural environment; with an inspired next generation to take on guardianship of the county’s biodiversity
While 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 the targets are still relevant.
It is intended that the targets will be utilised by statutory agencies to local planning authorities; landowners to non-governmental organisations; those that use the land to those that benefit from its services.