New bio-diversity policy

South Darley Parish Council has a new bio-diversity policy.

As a council we already attempt to do what we can to protect and enhance our environment. Although we have no vote on planning applications, we do voice our objections or support as we deem appropriate. So, unless there are exceptional circumstances, we do not support development on greenfield sites. Under new rules, all development will need to show a 10% net gain in bio-diversity so this is something we will also need to consider in the future.

We have lent our voice to the calls to Derbyshire Dales District Council (DDDC) to look for alternatives to spraying kerbs and roadsides with Glysophate. Glysophate destroys the micro-organisms in healthy soil, washes into water systems and is harmful to insects, birds and humans. DDDC hac reduced its use of Glysophate significantly on verges, parks and graveyards. They have also reduced the number of times that our kerbs and roadside edges are sprayed. As with many councils, they have been trialling alternatives including the use of mechanical weed pulling and hot foam but unfortunately the roads continue to be sprayed with Glysophate at present. The Parish Council will continue to monitor the situation and exert pressure where we can.

The only bit of land owned by the Parish Council is the plantation next to the school. We’ve given the school permission to use the plantation for their Forest School activities. It’s a fantastic resource right next to the school where the children can enjoy their activities in nature. We have regular tree inspections and manage the site for safety and future regeneration. We are hoping to plant several trees in the next few months to replace the ones we’ve lost as a result of disease in the last few years.

As a council we are keen to support the Derbyshire County Council ‘million trees’ campaign. DCC are encouraging landowners, businesses and gardeners to plant as many trees as they are able and to log them on a map to see if they can achieve one million by 2030. As there is very little council land available for planting, we are looking to encourage landowners in our community. We have had a couple of offers from landowners to plant a tree for the future, but we are looking for more.

If all goes to plan, the parish may be gifted a small parcel of land in the near future. If there is interest in the community it would be good to try and manage it as an environmental project, maybe a wildlife meadow, a wildlife pond, a community orchard or a small copse. Maybe the community pond and orchard in Winster could provide inspiration.

As you will be aware, Ecobat, a huge lead smelter, is situated in our small community. The Parish Council hosts a liaison group with Ecobat. The group has representatives from a number of local parish councils and Derbyshire Dales District wards as well as from Derbyshire County Council and the Environment Agency. The liaison meeting exists to share plans and discuss any issues which arise from the operation of the site and its effect on the environment and local people living or working nearby. Essentially the Parish Council works with Ecobat on two broad dimensions: limiting and reducing the impact of this large lead smelter on the environment and thus on biodiversity, and working proactively in relation to the woodland to increase biodiversity.

In the Parish Council’s bio-diversity policy, we are committing to

  • Conserving and promoting the bio-diversity of the land we manage when working alone and with other organisations.
  • Raising awareness of bio-diversity issues within the local community.
  • Involving the community in promoting bio-diversity through, for example tree planting and wilding areas.

We hope to support the community in doing so much more. We look to working with you to create our own initiatives in the future and do our bit to help improve biodiversity locally.

A fuller version of this article can be found here.