People Plan

"Biodiversity is ultimately lost or conserved at the local level"

‘Biodiversity – the UK Action Plan’ (1994)

BIODIVERSITY BANNERS
Copyright: The Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside

The more people there are who enjoy, understand and value Lancashire’s biodiversity the more chance there is that it will be conserved for current and future generations.

If the Biodiversity Action Plan is to succeed, a range of people with a variety of different interests needs to come together at a local level and act to protect this county’s unique natural heritage.

This 'People Plan' outlines how it is envisaged that different sections of the community will be contacted and encouraged to play a role in making the BAP happen.

The Plan identifies some of the different interest groups that the BAP is aiming to involve. An assessment is made of each group’s current impact upon biodiversity and of the issues that are likely to determine their future involvement in conservation initiatives. Actions are proposed that deliver local BAP objectives through partnerships formed with the target group.

People Plan Contents:

Progress

What has been done so far to encourage community involvement?

   
Farmers and Land Managers How can we win support from farmers and landowners who manage the countryside that supports so much of our wildlife?
   
Business How can we engage with industrial and commercial companies whose activities can have strong positive as well as negative effects on environmental quality?
   
Further and Higher Education How do we reach students and lecturers in our colleges and universities?
   
Schools How do we get the 'biodiversity message' into schools?
   
Local Government What needs to be done to raise awareness of biodiversity with elected councillors and council officers?

 

As the BAP develops new parts will be drafted for the People Plan. During the first twelve months following publication work on drafting the following will be begun:

Community Action A section giving brief details of community-based biodiversity initiatives as they develop.
   
Local Agenda 21 & Community Strategies How can we ensure biodiversity is taken into account in Local Agenda 21 and in the Community Strategies being produced by local government?
   
Ethnic minorities How best can we work with ethnic minorities in the county?
   
Recorders How can we encourage more biological recording and the involvement of existing recorders and local naturalists in the BAP?

 

Some Questions and Answers

Q. How have the above Groups been chosen and the proposed actions been arrived at?

A. A brief explanation of how these were arrived at is given in the 'Progress' part of this Plan.

It is recognised that several of the categories overlap. For example, many of the interest groups identified above overlap. Industrial and local government bodies are significant landowners, farmers are also business people, etc.

Q. What, in general terms, do we need to do to engage the support of these and other interest groups?

A. We need to:

  • Persuade people to act by convincing them that Lancashire’s biodiversity is important and that there is something positive they can do to conserve it;
  • Ensure that good quality information and advice about Lancashire’s biodiversity is readily accessible;
  • Provide opportunities for involvement in projects that aim to conserve key habitats and species;
  • Produce materials that can be used in education about Lancashire's rich natural heritage.

Q. What do we mean by 'education'?

A. It follows from the answer to the above question that we regard education and public awareness as integral to the BAP process and not ‘optional extras’.

‘Education’ in the sense in which the word is used here is as "an active, lifelong process that does not stop at the school gates", including both ‘formal’ and ‘informal’ educational experiences. As one voluntary sector report has put it: "Education and Training have a vital role to play to ensure that individuals and the various sectors…have the understanding and skills necessary to sustain biodiversity."

For this reason, this Plan not only covers the teaching of biodiversity concepts within schools, colleges and universities, but also takes account of the need for other activities that increase general public awareness of biodiversity-related issues. The latter includes initiatives aimed at publicising the Lancashire BAP through the various news media.

Q. How does the People Plan link to the other plans in this BAP?

A. Individual Habitat Action Plans (HAPs) or Species Action Plans (SAPs) contain highly specific proposals relating to the conservation of that particular habitat or species. The ‘public involvement’ aspects of each plan are addressed under a number of different headings within the action tables in that plan (e.g. ‘Advisory’, ‘Research and Monitoring’, ‘Communication and Publicity’ - See Appendix 8 and Appendix 9 in the Appendices). However, to produce a coherent People Involvement Plan these very detailed proposals need to be integrated within a general framework for participation in biodiversity conservation.

It is important to remember that Lancashire’s biodiversity is more than just the species and habitats prioritised for HAPs and SAPs but that it also encompasses the common and everyday as much as it does the rare and threatened.

Q. How does the People Plan relate to the national BAP process?

A. As well as the local objectives, the Lancashire BAP will be expected to deliver what it can towards the targets set in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan. The government’s stated policy towards biodiversity education and awareness is to "strengthen and extend existing good practice, fill gaps, improve what is ineffective and give the participating bodies a sense of belonging to a national and international movement".

The UK Biodiversity Steering Group has considered the preparation of a campaign to "increase public awareness of and involvement in conserving UK biodiversity". They concluded that it would be counter-productive to launch a separate campaign when such initiatives as Local Agenda 21 and Going for Green already existed. It would be better, it was reasoned, to "link biodiversity to other initiatives in sustainable development".

The most recent government guidance on this subject has reiterated this approach. The Lancashire BAP’s Education and Publicity Working Group therefore sought to work with the various LA21 initiatives in the county to ensure that biodiversity is integrated into Local Agenda 21 Strategies. It is intended to add to the Plan a summary of the main proposals that have emerged from discussions with LA21 officers and LA21 groups within the county (see above).


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