Otley Town Council declares biodiversity emergency

FOLLOWING its pioneering declaration of a climate emergency in 2019, Otley City Council last week became one of the first councils in the country to declare a biodiversity emergency.

The statement, proposed by Councilor Paul Carter (Lib Dem, Manor Ward) and seconded by Council Leader Cllr Richard Hughes (Lib Dem, West Chevin Ward) pledges to do everything in his power to reverse the decline biodiversity and provide a net measurable gain.

Commenting on the statement, Cllr Carter said: ‘The UK has only 50% of its biodiversity left and biodiversity is declining faster than at any time in human history. It is not enough to slow this decline and now we need transformational change to give the next generation a better place to live.

The statement was made at the full council meeting on Monday June 13, 2022 and commits Otley City Council to:

• Call on the UK government to provide the necessary resources to make a measurable net gain possible

• Continue to work with Leeds City Council and naturalist groups to promote projects that will improve biodiversity in Otley

• Support the extension of the Leeds Habitat Network within Otley

• Work with partners to measure the current level of biodiversity within Otley and

• Develop an action plan to deliver a net gain in biodiversity based on scientific evidence

Biodiversity is the variety of life on earth, including animals, insects, plants and bacteria, and according to the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), the UK ranks in the bottom 10% globally and last among the G7. Band.

The House of Commons Environment Committee noted that the UK had failed to meet 14 of 19 Aichi Biodiversity Targets and the 2019 State of Nature Report suggested that 15% of species in the UK Kingdom are now threatened with extinction.

Cllr Carter said: “We are proud to follow our declaration of a climate emergency with a declaration of a biodiversity emergency. Although they are separate issues, they share a common thread in that we need urgent action in both areas to avert catastrophe.

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