Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council has officially launched its first five-year Local Biodiversity Action Plan, which aims to safeguard and enhance the Borough's biodiversity in the face of climate change and its associated challenges. The Plan was unveiled by the Mayor of Antrim and Newtownabbey, Alderman Stephen Ross, alongside TV presenter, Joe Mahon and Irish garden designer, Diarmuid Gavin.
The Local Biodiversity Action Plan highlights our local priority habitats and species, and outlines the necessary actions to ensure their ongoing protection and improvement for future generations. It explains that through partnership-working and local actions, everyone can make a difference - community groups, schools, businesses as well as individuals.
The Council recognises that biodiversity is crucial to sustainable development and therefore the Plan will be an integral part of its local policies and plans going forward. Alderman Stephen Ross recognises that while we must continue to ensure we meet growing demands for high-quality outdoor facilities within our Borough, the natural environment must remain at the heart of all our decision-making;
“the pandemic has provided us with an opportunity to revisit our relationship with nature and rebuild a more environmentally responsible world. Nature has proven to be a source of solace for many in terms of their mental health and wellbeing.”
Joe Mahon comments on the Council’s Plan;
“I am thrilled to be here at Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council’s Local Biodiversity Action Plan launch. The Council has already been actively collaborating with many partners to address the pressing issue of the 'nature crisis' at a local level. As someone who has personally experienced the significance of biodiversity in this Borough, I can attest to its importance. I would encourage more and more people to become closer to nature, connect with wildlife, and take simple steps such as planting wildflower seeds in a window box or participating in local community projects. By working together, we can create a more sustainable future for ourselves and our local environment.”
Diarmuid Gavin added;
“I am delighted that Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council has launched their five-year Local Biodiversity Action Plan outlining their commitment to protecting our environment. We need to change the way we garden, without soil health, without plant health we only have superficial health. We must look after the whole ecosystem and that really does start with our gardens and green spaces, we are not just gardening for ourselves. I am delighted that people are getting the message, councils are making changes and people are understanding that simple wildflowers are open to bees to collect pollen. If we don’t want sterile environments where no bird sings and no trees exist, we need to look after the environments around us. The satisfaction in seeing new growth, new energy, new life, is the magic of nature.”
The Council will work with its key partners to deliver the five-year plan across its wetlands, woodlands, grasslands, peatlands, coastal and urban areas. A series of local biodiversity events will also be delivered by Council and its key partners, to provide opportunities for individuals and communities to engage in and enhance our environment for biodiversity. These can be viewed on antrimandnewtownabbey.gov.uk/events
A copy of the Plan is available for download here: antrimandnewtownabbey.gov.uk/biodiversity