Parish biodiversity audits

What are parish biodiversity audits?

Many of us would like to contribute to the conservation of our natural environment, but it can be difficult to know where to start. The best place to start is often on our local patch and by doing so we can help to conserve Devon’s wildlife, as well as improving our own well-being – human well-being and biodiversity are intrinsically linked and a properly functioning natural environment provides substantial economic, environmental, health and community benefits.

To help communities become involved in conserving their own local environment, Devon County Council produced a number of parish biodiversity audits (see below). The audits aim to provide basic information on the wildlife and geology found within each parish, supported by initial ideas for local action: actions which have potential to contribute to nature conservation on a wider scale – from local to county, county to national and beyond.

The parish biodiversity audits have three basic elements:

1) A description of parish wildlife – information largely based on existing records of important habitats and interesting species, but also supplemented by fieldwork and knowledge held within the community.

2) Links with the Devon Biodiversity and Geodiversity Action Plan (BAP) – Initial ideas for local action to help our wildlife – the list is by no means a comprehensive list but was intended to generate further ideas within communities

To find out if a parish biodiversity audit has been carried out for your parish, click on the relevant district council below. Please note that the audits were produced some time ago, therefore certain information may be out-of-date and links unusable. Nevertheless, we hope that you find the available information useful, interesting and informative.

Why not produce your own?

It was hoped that the audits would be adopted by the parishes involved and developed in future years. Your parish may well be able to produce something similar locally – members of parish communities often have considerable knowledge of the local environment.

Producing a parish biodiversity audit could also support your Parish Council to meet their biodiversity duty under Section 40 (1) of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities (NERC) Act 2006. Local authorities have a key role to play in conserving biodiversity and the Act places the following duty on public authorities – ‘Every public authority must, in exercising its functions, have regard, so far as is consistent with the proper exercise of those functions, to the purpose of conserving biodiversity’. This applies to all local authorities, including parish and town councils and guidance regarding implementation of this duty can be accessed here.

Visit the ‘Devon Community Toolkit for the Natural Environment‘ page to find relevant information and details of organisations that may be able to provide some advice/support. A list of ecological consultants, who may be able to work on producing a parish biodiversity audit can also be viewed at Ecological Consultants/Contractors and Geological Consultants working in the Devon area