Biodiversity

Biodiversity is the variety of life on Earth (the diversity between habitats and species) and has been identified of importance for the area of West Somerset owing to the quality of surrounding countryside.

Exmoor National Park and the Quantock Hills have their own action plans on biodiversity and therefore its the area between these two and in some others to provide an important link for species migration and habitat growth.

The delivery of the West Somerset Biodiversity Action Plan is undertaken in partnership with a number of local and national organisations, such as:

  • Somerset Environmental Records Centre
  • Somerset Wildlife Trust
  • Natural England
  • Somerset County Council
  • Quantock Hills (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty)

Areas of current Council work which have an impact on biodiversity include:

  • Planning applications (for example where the conversion of old barns and buildings effects roost sites for bats or owls and also the change of land use from agricultural to residential)
  • Investigations into land drainage and the flow of water courses
  • Agricultural development and the promotion of the Environmental Stewardship schemes run by Natural England

The West Somerset Council Biodiversity Plan (2008) (BAP)

In 2008 the West Somerset Biodiversity Action Plan was published and it laid out a series of actions that was needed to be taken at a regional level to halt the decline in the diversity of the countryside, but also to have measures to promote certain sensitive indicators.

Click on the links under Related Documents to download the Action Plans. Detailed action plans have been drawn up for the following three priority habitats:

  • West Somerset Native Wild Flowers on Arable Land Species Action Plan
  • West Somerset Coastal and Marine Habitat Action Plan
  • West Somerset Woodland Habitat Action Plan

Species action plans have also been prepared for the following species:

  • West Somerset Long-Eared Owl Species Action Plan
  • West Somerset Waxcap Species Action Plan

These action plans identify the highest priority practical action that should be taken to conserve biodiversity by lead organisations, supported by the Council in its enabling role. A broader generic look has been undertaken to provide benefit to a wider range of species and habitat and this includes the promotion of community involvement, advisory systems for landowners and incentive schemes.

As part of the Biodiversity Action Plan a baseline survey was commissioned in 1998 to record the number of species per allocated site. A total of 27 plots were located each measuring 4 x 4 metres. It was proposed to monitor these at 5-yearly intervals and add further sites to ascertain the level of species diversification or decline.

Baseline Survey

As part of the Biodiversity Action Plan a baseline survey was commissioned in 1998 to record the number of species per allocated site. A total of 27 plots were located each measuring 4 x 4 metres. It was proposed to monitor these at 5-yearly intervals and add further sites to ascertain the level of species diversification or decline.

Click on the links under Related Documents to download the West Somerset Biodiversity Action Plan (1999), Sections 1 to 4.

For further information please contact the Council on 01643 703704.

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