Privacy settings

Winchester City Council declares a Nature Emergency

At a full Council meeting on 20 September, Winchester City Council unanimously voted to support a motion to declare a nature emergency.

The motion put forward by Cllr Kelsie Learney, Cabinet Member for the Climate Emergency, recognises the impact that the climate crisis is having on wildlife and nature.

The motion asked council to declare a nature emergency, recognising that:

  1. Nature is in long term decline and urgent action must be taken to reverse this.
  2. A thriving natural environment underpins a healthy, prosperous society.
  3. The nature crisis and the climate emergency are intrinsically linked and that the impacts of the climate crisis drive nature’s decline, while restoring nature can help to tackle the climate crisis.

Cllr Kelsie Learney also outlined the work that the city council is undertaking already to restore nature: The Council’s dedicated natural environment team and Biodiversity action plan which outlines targeted action to halt loss of habitat, the management of sites designated for nature conservation; the management of cemeteries and open species including chalk grassland habitats; the plating of wildflowers and ongoing protection of bats and birds with bird and bat boxes on council reroofing projects. 

New policies have been proposed in the council’s Regulation 18 Local Plan to protect nature – dedicated policies to enhance biodiversity, protect and support green and blue infrastructure, policies which protect trees, important hedgerows and ancient woodlands and policies to protect waterways.

The motion recognised that Hampshire County Council has been appointed as the responsible authority under section 105 of the Environment Act 2021 for the Local Nature Recovery for Hampshire, but reiterated the city council’s intentions to play as full a part as it can in nature’s recovery.

Cllr Kelsie Learney – Cabinet Member for the Climate Emergency said:

‘We will make no significant impact to biodiversity loss without tackling the climate emergency – that has to remain our priority BUT we can do more.

We are in the middle of a nature crisis  with the abundance of and distribution of species declining across the UK. Human activity is having a devastating effect on our wildlife and nature. We know how being in natural spaces generates positive emotions, calmness, joy and creativity and improves mental health. Everyday opportunities for our residents to connect with nature are essential. This motion strengthens this council’s existing policies and intentions and asks us to consider the impact on the natural environment of all our policies before decisions are made’

The motion can be found on the city council’s website and the full debate can be found on the council’s youtube channel 

Winchester City Council logo

Cookies Policy

This site uses cookies to store information on your computer.

Some of these cookies are necessary to make the site work. We’d also like to use optional cookies to help improve your experience on the site. You can manage your optional cookie preferences below. Using this tool will set a cookie on your device to remember your preferences. Your preferences can be changed at any time.

Review your privacy settings