Guiding principle 3: Protecting and enhancing biodiversity

Plan, deliver and manage green infrastructure in Devon to:

  • ensure decisions affecting land result in a net gain for biodiversity
  • expand, enhance and link Devon’s wildlife habitats where opportunities arise
  • safeguard habitats of wildlife importance, particularly irreplaceable habitats
  • ensure the management regimes that support wildlife habitats are sustainable in the long term
  • ensure other functions and benefits of green and blue infrastructure assets  are compatible with enhancing biodiversity, and seek to resolve conflicts where they occur

Why this is important for Devon and beyond

Biodiversity is simply the variation of lifeforms on the planet. Caused by genetic divergence from a common ancestor, biodiversity represents a significant resource of genetic differences and how these are expressed in the environment. The need to preserve biodiversity is set out in various legislation at local, national and international level. Devon County Council has a responsibility under section 40 of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006, which states that 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.

Strategic priorities and approaches for working together across Devon

3.1 Use the Devon online mapping to target what types of habitat need to be expanded and linked

3.2 Refer to the Devon Biodiversity Action Plan to understand what species and habitats should be given priority to support

3.3 Utilise the biodiversity mitigation hierarchy when preparing policies and projects

3.4 Refer to relevant National Character Area and Devon Landscape Character Area profiles for ideas on how to enhance biodiversity and bring other benefits

3.5 Learn from case studies of how working together results not only in biodiversity enhancement but also other benefits (see links below)

  • Your role

    Local Authorities

    Policy planners: apply the guiding principles and priorities in this strategy as the basis for formulating planning policies, strategies and plans that are consistent across administrative boundaries, through the duty to co-operate.

    All planners: use the planning process (including legal requirements under european legislation, section 106 agreements and CIL) to ensure biodiversity is taken account of in planning policies and decisions.

    Public sector landowners and land managers: get involved in the planning and management of green infrastructure to improve biodiversity

    Landowners, developers and design professionals

    Developers and designers: When formulating masterplans and development plans, carry out environmental appraisals early in the design process to identify which biodiversity assets should be protected, and how to achieve a net gain in biodiversity using the mitigation hierarchy.

    Communities and individuals

    Neighbourhood planning bodies: when preparing their neighbourhood plans or community right to build orders, should pro-actively plan to preserve and enhance biodiversity assets

    Individuals: can make meaningful contributions towards improving biodiversity, for example through better garden design and management. See below for useful links.

Tools and case studies to help you

Devon Local Nature Partnership

The Local Nature Partnership for Devon and Torbay was established in 2012. Its role is to protect and improve the natural environment, grow the green economy and reconnect people with nature. The partnership acts by providing evidence, supporting key projects and liaising with numerous stakeholders throughout the area.

State of Devon’s Environment report

The Local Nature Partnership has prepared a report setting out the state of Devon’s natural environment. This features assessment of many different aspects including the condition of protected habitats and species in Devon.

Online mapping

See the Green Infrastructure in your local area pages.

Devon Biodiversity Action Plan

The Devon Biodiversity Action Plan sets out targets for habitat and species protection within the county.

Natural environment community toolkit

Communities and individuals wanting to get more involved in Devon’s natural environment can seek advice on how to do this in Devon’s natural environment toolkit. The toolkit provides advice on creating nature maps, undertaking wildlife surveys, habitat management and much more.

Improving your garden

The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds provides helpful advice on how to improve your garden to promote biodiversity.