Bold bid to battle 'biodiversity emergency' includes spending on parks

A dog walker on Mousehold Heath. Picture: Danielle Booden

A dog walker on Mousehold Heath. Picture: Danielle Booden - Credit: Archant 2021

Eight parks have already been earmarked for investment if a bold new plan to revive the city's wildlife over the next 10 years goes ahead.

Norwich City Council wants to reduce the decline of biodiversity as well as boost numbers of species and wildlife between 2022 and 2030.

Adam Giles, cabinet member for community wellbeing

Adam Giles, cabinet member for community wellbeing - Credit: Norwich City Council

Adam Giles, Labour city councillor for Crome ward which includes Mousehold Heath, said people would be able to have their say on the ideas and hoped they would be taken up by November this year.

The main aim will be boosting nature reserves and parks, as well as creating nature corridors between green spots.

This would be achieved by people making their gardens more nature friendly, and scaling back on verge cutting.

Mr Giles said: "Biodiversity is critical for human life. We are in a biodiversity emergency. We have to take further action and want to go further and faster than the government has told leading authorities to do.

"During lockdown being able to go for walks in reserves and parks was uplifting. It made people value green spaces."

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He added the Environment Act 2021 passed in the House of Commons indicated the Nature Recovery Network, to be taken on by lead local authorities in each county, would halt species decline by 2030 and increase abundance of species by 2042.

The city council wants to do both by 2030.

Mr Giles said the authority would want to invest in its parks and nature reserves, including Bowthorpe Marsh, Danby Wood, Eaton Common, Earlham Park Woods, Lion Wood, Marston Marsh, Mousehold Heath and Wensum Local Nature Reserve.

He added: "We want to interconnect them with natural corridors through gardens and infilling green spaces with planters and pots."

Mr Giles said people would be able to get advice on eco-boosting tips and verges would not be cut if they did not need to be.

A strategy on how green spaces are managed will also be developed.

Asher Minns, executive director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research

Asher Minns, executive director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research - Credit: UEA 

Asher Minns, executive director of the Tyndall Change for Climate Change Research, which has a base at the University of East Anglia, said: "I welcome the strategy. It is ambitious."

He added it was important to encourage the right species in certain areas.

How to help the environment in your own garden

People can help nature by taking on these simple adaptations to their gardening at home.

Mr Minns gave the following tips for novices or advanced gardeners:

1) A lot of people control their gardens too much. Is it necessary to have a billiard table design on a lawn?

2) Let the grass grow and allow it to become a bit weedy. Leave things long. 

3) Leave a bit of your garden to nature. If you can put in a pond then do even if it is shallow. They are great for insects and different habitats.

4) If you don't have a garden you can put a lot in planters. You can also create habitats for birds through different-shaped bird boxes.

5) Try to pick native flowers or species that support local wildlife.