Bristol becomes first council to declare an ‘ecological emergency’

Bristol City Council has declared an ‘ecological emergency’ in response to the escalating threats to wildlife and ecosystems across the UK. 

There has been a worrying decline in the numbers and diversity of wildlife in the UK, with 15% of British wildlife now at risk of extinction, including many species of bird, insect and mammal, which has prompted Bristol to make the declaration.

The Mayor of Bristol, Marvin Rees has asked One City Environment Board, who are working with the council to transform Bristol into an environmentally sustainable city, to add new initiatives to protect wildlife.

Initiatives will include looking at ways to stop wildlife habitats from being destroyed and working out ways to manage land in a more sustainable way.

Earlier last month, the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) published its land-use report, which outlined that in order to tackle climate change the UK must transform the way land is used.

Marvin Rees said: ‘It is not too late to start the recovery of our wildlife. We must work together to grasp this last chance and put things right for nature and wildlife in our city.

‘This declaration will provide a focus for the whole city to come together and take positive action.

‘Our commitment to this will extend beyond parks and green spaces. We need our buildings, streets and open spaces to support wildlife and create a more nature-friendly city, and we need new developments to do the same.

Ian Barrett, chief executive of Avon, said: ‘This is about stopping the loss of much-loved species which were once common in gardens, parks, waterside and green spaces across the city – swifts, starlings, hedgehogs and butterflies.

‘But it’s about more than that, we face losing all that wildlife abundance that thriving natural world provides us with, clean air, clean water, healthy soil, food crops, natural flood defences and beautiful space to enjoy.

‘All of us – from individuals to large city organisations – can now take action.’

Last month,  Tiffany Cloynes, partner at Geldards, and Adam Simpson, senior lawyer at Warrington Borough Council, outlined for Environment Journal some examples of action that councils can take after declaring a climate emergency.

Photo Credit – Pixabay

Pippa Neill

Pippa Neill

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