Biodiversity in Epsom and Ewell
Biodiversity is the word used to describe the complexity and abundance of life on earth in all its forms. The intricate network of ecosystems, habitats and species comprising biodiversity provides the support systems that sustain human existence, providing many of the essentials of life: our oxygen, water, food, clothing, health and relaxation. Consequently, humanity must 'act locally and think globally' by adopting sustainable ways of living that ensure the protection of biodiversity.
We have produced a Local Biodiversity Action Plan 2020-30 to help ensure both the long term protection and enhancement of biodiversity within our borough. This is our second 10 yr Biodiversity Action Plan.
A foreword from Chris Packham
When you are a kid size matters and thus the magnificent male Stag Beetles emergence was an eagerly anticipated annual event. A nearby street had some monstrous oaks and a diversion from the normal route to school would pay dividends and fill my jam jars. To be fair these creatures have lost none of their allure over the years but now it's not just their size that matters, it's their importance as a flagship species - they along with the Oaks which nourish their peculiar larvae. So I'm not surprised that you have chosen them as your local heroes to champion the Biodiversity Action Plan - and you have impressive numbers of these giants too!
In simple terms any community's biodiversity is a measure of its health and stability. The more niches that are filled the better the natural machine will function and prosper. Thus nationally, regionally and locally we have constructed plans which aim to protect and enhance the richness of life at these respective levels. All have their roles but local strategies are tremendously important because they are implicitly governed by those who live, work and influence that community - these are formulated, enacted and enjoyed by those 'on the ground'. They are about 'personal wildlife conservation'!
In these days where doom and gloom is a constant temptation I remain optimistic about our abilities to make a difference because we have such a well-stocked armoury of abilities to effectively conserve life. We have studied it, tested it, we know what we need to do. The introduction of grazing on Epsom Common has seen superb revivals in butterfly and plant diversity and even established a future for a population of the charismatic Yellowhammer. This has only been achieved by many years of tireless volunteer endeavour - an essential component of contemporary conservation.
And ultimately this success is good for us to. We uniquely have a conscience so we have to try to do what we know is right, but also we can enjoy a better quality of life as a result, the sight of a Stag Beetle whirring across the dusk sky or the charming song of the Yellowhammer with its 'little bit of bread but no cheese' can make your day. And that's the real key here; it will make your day and not mine, because the borough of Epsom & Ewell is yours. You mend it, restore it and protect it and you can revel, be proud of and enjoy it! Superb!
Chris Packham 2012
Implementing the plan
The working group which oversees the implementation of the plan produced its first progress report for the 2010-20 plan in December 2011. All progress reports are available on request and below are links to the most recent ones, which explain the progress made over the years.
Biodiversity and Planning in Epsom and Ewell
An important target for the plan is to ensure that the conservation and/or enhancement of biodiversity is a key part of our planning decision making process. In January 2012, we adopted a new guide called Biodiversity and Planning in Epsom and Ewell that gives guidance on the protection and enhancement of biodiversity through the planning system.
How does biodiversity benefit our community?
Our Local Biodiversity Action Plan aims to promote the economic and health benefits of biodiversity in Epsom and Ewell.
Our health and the economies, local, national and global, that we work in, depend on healthy ecosystems providing fresh water, fertile soils, clean air, diverse wildlife and places to enjoy. In a world of finite resources, we need to find a balance between the use of natural resources and the ability of ecosystems to provide the services we demand. Our increasingly complex and interconnected world economies make assessing 'Ecosystem Services' a complex subject. However, if we want to maintain and improve our standard of living in the long term, our economies inevitably have to be in harmony with the natural environment. To find out more about the importance of healthy balanced ecosystems and the services they provide take a look at the links below.
The Ecosystems Knowledge Network is a great place to start discovering the practical benefits of maintaining healthy ecosystems. The UK is a world leader in research in to 'Ecosystem Services' and a UK National Ecosystem Assessment has already been carried out.