Devon County Council has a statutory responsibility to promote and enhance wildlife through its functions and management of its estate.
We provide technical ecological advice (largely in relation to wildlife legislation and policy) to DCC staff on:
- planning issues (development control, strategic planning and DCC planning applications)
- projects (highways maintenance, permitted developments)
- the DCC estate (verge management, special verges, county farms).
We also work closely with partners across Devon on a range of projects. This includes managing the Devon Local Nature Partnership and sub groups such as the Devon Wildlife Strategy Group (Local Sites, Devon Nature Map, Devon State of Nature Report and Devon Biodiversity Action Plan).
Information on Devon’s environment has been mapped on our Environment Viewer.
Strategy and partnerships
Natural Devon – Devon Local Nature Partnership (LNP)
The partnership was established in December 2012 and is coordinated by DCC’s County Ecologist. Its purpose is to ‘ensure that a healthy natural environment underpins a high quality of life across Devon, with a strong green economy and healthy communities’. To find out more see www.naturaldevon.org.uk.
Devon Wildlife Strategy Group
Has been established (as part of the LNP) to facilitate joint working on wildlife issues across Devon. For more information see Devon Wildlife Strategy Group.
Rebuilding Devon’s nature map
This has evolved from and replaced (in Devon) the South West Nature Map. Nature Map identifies the best areas in Devon to maintain and expand out more important terrestrial wildlife habitats. These areas include river corridors and Strategic Nature Areas (SNAs). Devon Biodiversity Records Centre (DBRC) hosts the map and further details can be found on the DBRC website.
DCC has worked with Devon Wildlife Trust and others to produce a report on The State of Devon’s Nature. This was launched in spring 2014 at Natural Devon’s first conference.
The Devon Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP)
The Nature of Devon: A Biodiversity and Geodiversity Action Plan, was published in 1998 and revised in 2005. It was produced by the Devon Biodiversity Partnership (over 50 organisations). The Devon BAP included a list of key habitats and species as well as actions plans for habitats and species requiring a county wide approach to their conservation. The objectives and actions in this plan still apply today and there is currently no plan to update the BAP.
Devon County Council, Devon Biodiversity Records Centre (DBRC) and Devon species experts from a range of recording groups and organisations worked together to update the 1998 species list and produce a long list of ~ 1,600 species known to be rare in Devon (Priority Species) and a short list of 96 species (Devon’s Special Species) for which Devon has a particular responsibility. These updated lists were launched in January 2018 and can be found on the Devon Local Nature Partnership webpages.
County wildlife sites (CWS)
DCC and Devon Wildlife Trust are the main funders of Devon’s County Wildlife Site Programme. Devon Biodiversity Records Centre (DBRC) is funded to carry out monitoring and advisory visits. To find out more, including the criteria for CWS designation, see DBRC – County Wildlife Sites. If you are able to provide information on a County Wildlife Site please contact DBRC.
Parish wildlife and geology audits
A series of audits were commissioned by DCC in 2010. These provide information on wildlife and geology in the parish as well as ideas for local action.
Devon Community Toolkit for the Natural Environment
The Toolkit provides guidance for communities wanting to produce their own audit, as well as giving other ideas for projects. The toolkit consists of six sections:
Download your copy of the Devon Community Toolkit for the Natural Environment.
- Ideas for projects – from wildlife mapping to improving access into the natural environment
- Examples of projects – projects carried out by organisations or communities
- Existing wildlife groups – an overview of wildlife organisations in the county
- Practicalities – essential practical advice to assist you in your projects
- Wildlife priorities in Devon – an overview of wildlife priorities and designations
- Contacts and sources of information – a useful contact/information list.
Habitats and species
Our Habitats and species pages provide basic information on wildlife habitats and ideas for projects.
Invasives and disease
Species that have been introduced into areas outside their natural range, through human actions, are known as non-native species. Some have been introduced intentionally and others accidentally. An audit of non-native species in England in 2005 found 2721 species in the wild. While the majority of these are harmless a small number are invasive and can, in some cases, cause significant environmental and economic harm.
Devon Local Nature Partnership is developing a Devon Invasive Species Initiative which is replacing the Devon Knotweed Forum. The Knotweed Forum produced lots of useful information on Japanese Knotweed
Details of knotweed contractors and consultants operating in Devon
- Wildlife and geology planning guidance
Devon County Council is required to protect and enhance wildlife habitats, species and geological sites through the planning process. Find out more about wildlife guidance and what wildlife information is needed with a planning application.
Pollinators are in trouble and Devon needs to play its part in conserving pollinator species and their habitats.
Take a look at Devon Local Nature Partnership’s ‘Get Devon Buzzing’ campaign and pledge to do something to help. The pledge includes five key actions, including to only use pesticides if absolutely necessary. Neonicotinoid based insecticides have been implicated in the deaths of bees and other pollinators. These insecticides are available for a range of uses, including in domestic situations. The research continues but if you would like to avoid using them please see this list – Insecticides containing neonics used in domestic situations.
- Wildlife and verges
According to Plantlife verges across the UK support over 700 plant species, 45% of our native flora.
We have approximately 2000 hectares of road verge across Devon (excluding verges managed by Highways England) the majority of which can, or could if managed correctly, support a wealth of wildlife including plants, bees, butterflies and reptiles.
Devon County Council is encouraging local communities to manage verges for wildlife to help create a network of wildlife corridors across the county. For further information please click here.
Furthermore, many hedges and trees on the edge of the highway and highway verge, and these marks it boundary with private property. In these cases, the adjacent landowner or occupier is responsible for maintaining them. To find out more about the maintenance of roadside hedgerows, please visit the Devon County Council hedge maintenance webpages.
- Wildlife and geology planning guidance
For further information contact: Sarah Jennings, County Ecologist, tel: 01392 383871.