Warwickshire, Coventry & Solihull Local Biodiversity Action Plan (LBAP)

Comma copyright Steven Cheshire (WWT)

Comma copyright Steven Cheshire (WWT)

Partnerships for Wildlife

Local Biodiversity Action Plan (LBAP)

As a signatory to the Convention on Biological Diversity, the UK is committed to using a set of indicators to report on progress towards meeting international targets. The UK Biodiversity Indicators 2014 review shows long-term bad news for farmland and woodland birds and butterflies.

The links below take you to the latest updates to the Warwickshire, Coventry and Solihull Biodiversity Action Plans. These plans were compiled between 2002 and 2005.

There are 52 biodiversity action plans for Warwickshire, Coventry and Solihull, 27 for our vulnerable species and 25 for our characteristic habitats, ranging from woodlands and wetlands to urban and rural settlements.

Gina Rowe
Chair of LBAP, Head of Living Landscapes (Projects)
t:  024 7630 8976
e: gina.rowe@wkwt.org.uk

Why biodiversity matters

Biodiversity contributes to what makes the Warwickshire, Coventry & Solihull distinctive. Imagine a world without:

  • animals and plants in your local park
  • bees and butterflies on flowers
  • ladybirds on your windowsill
  • a bluebell wood alive with bird song
  • a meadow full of wild flowers
  • a pond with flowers and frogs
  • hedges full of blossom

We all depend on water, oxygen and food which are provided by the variety of habitats and species around us. The quality of our lives is greatly enriched by wildlife and it has been shown that contact with wildlife and open spaces improves our health and well-being.

Yet our biodiversity faces great challenges from the activities of people. The need for homes , food transport and jobs has inevitably led to the loss of species and habitats. We need to restore and rebuild biodiversity.

The 1992 Rio Earth Summit was the first international attempt to do this. Over 150 countries pledged to conserve their dwindling biodiversity and by 1994 Britain had published a UK Biodiversity Action Plan and encouraged local people and organisations to form partnerships to produce and deliver their own Local Biodiversity Action plans. 

The framework for considering biodiversity within UK legislation / regulation is provided by the Natural Environment and Rural Communities (NERC) Act 2006. This placed a duty on local authorities and other public bodies to consider the conservation of biodiversity when carrying out all of their functions in order to raise the profile of biodiversity.

International Biodiversity Legislation

The Convention on Biological Diversity  or Biodiversity Convention for short - was opened for signature in Rio de Janeiro on 5 June 1992:

  • One hundred and ninety-three states and the European Union are parties to the convention which recognized for the first time in international law that the conservation of biological diversity is "a common concern of humankind" and is an integral part of the development process.
  • Its objective is to develop national strategies for the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity and it is often seen as the key document regarding sustainable development.
  • Importantly, the Convention is legally binding; countries that join it ('Parties') are obliged to implement its provisions.

The 2010 Biodiversity Target was first adopted at the EU Summit in Gothenburg, Sweden, in June 2001:

  • it was an overall conservation target aiming to halt the decline of biodiversity by the end of 2010 as a contribution to poverty alleviation and to the benefit of all life on Earth.
  • Countdown 2010 was an alliance of organisations working together to reach this target
  • despite some successes, by 2010 the world had largely failed to achieve a significant reduction of the current rate of biodiversity loss at the global, regional and national level .

'Making Space for Nature' was a report commissioned by Defra in 2009 in response to this failure:

  • a review of England’s wildlife sites and ecological network, chaired by John Lawton.
  • it argued that 'we need a step-change in our approach to wildlife conservation, from trying to hang on to what we have got to one of large scale habitat restoration and recreation, under-pinned by the re-establishment of ecological processes and ecosystem services, for the benefits of both people and wildlife'.

In 2010, the International Year of Biodiversity, the Nagoya Protocol was adopted at the10th Conference of Parties (COP) to the Convention on Biological Diversity in October in Nagoya, Japan

  • on 22 December 2010, the UN declared the period from 2011 to 2020 as the UN Decade on Biodiversity.
  • A revised and updated Strategic Plan for Biodiversity, including the Aichi Biodiversity Targets, will be the overarching framework on biodiversity.
  • The Conference of the Parties agreed to translate this overarching international framework into national biodiversity strategies and action plans within two years.

Actions are taking place around the world by governments and organizations to achieve these targets, some of which are:

  • Establish a conservation target of 17% of terrestrial and inland water areas and 10% of marine and coastal areas
  • Restore at least 15% of degraded areas through conservation and restoration activities
  • At least halve and, where feasible, bring close to zero the rate of loss of natural habitats, including forests
  • Make special efforts to reduce the pressures faced by coral reefs

In the UK, in 2011, Defra's ambitious 'Biodiversity 2020: A strategy for England’s wildlife and ecosystem services' provided a comprehensive picture of how we are implementing our international and EU commitments. It sets out the strategic direction for biodiversity policy for the next decade on land (including rivers and lakes) and at sea, building on the successful work that has gone before, but also seeking to deliver a real step change. The core action is to ensure no net loss of biodiversity and ecosystems services.

In 2013 the report 'State of Nature – a stocktake of all our native wildlife by 25 wildlife organisations', highlights what we have lost and what we are still losing:

  • gives examples of how we – as individuals, organisations, governments – can work together to stop this loss, and bring back nature where it has been lost.

How you can help

We need to work together to rebuild our biodiversity alongside developments and land changes. Positive action is needed to conserve Warwickshire, Coventry & Solihull’s wildlife and habitats and reverse losses.

Many of our...

  • farmers, land managers and landowners
  • local people, naturalists and communities
  • environmental and voluntary organisations
  • local authorities
  • educational institutions
  • developers and industries

...already work in partnership. We need to work towards shared achievable objectives, understand each other’s concerns and secure the resources necessary for carrying out such work. But more is needed.

Could you work for wildlife in your parish?

If so, the Parish Biodiversity Action Plan will help you. It was written in 2007 as a booklet of ideas to help people start wildlife projects on their doorsteps as it translates conservation priorities into practical action for nature on the ground. The first of its kind to be produced in the country and now rather out of date, it is still a useful guide to conservation in many local communities.

What progress has been made

By 2007 when all Warwickshire’s ‘UK BAP’ Priority action plans had been reported on, the first Annual Report for the LBAP was produced; this was updated following the completion of the reporting programme as the ‘Where we are now in 2008’ document. In 2010 to celebrate the International Year of biodiversity the more extensive Warwickshire, Coventry & Solihull Local Biodiversity Action Plan Progress Report was produced.

UK BAP priority species and habitats are those identified as being the most threatened and requiring conservation action.

  • the original lists of UK BAP priority species and habitats were created between 1995 and 1999, and were subsequently updated in 2007, following a 2-year review to ensure that the lists remained up-to-date.
  • selection of priority species and habitats followed consideration by expert working groups against a set of selection criteria, based on international importance, rapid decline, high risk, and habitats of importance for key species.

In 2011 a major review of the LBAP was begun as many of the plans were seriously out of date, having been written between 2002 – 2006. In 2015 this process of making the plans more targeted and measurable was completed with all 52 action plans back on the website. The partnership has enlarged to over 80 and broadened with the addition of some local groups and businesses whose work has contributed many examples of ‘local action’ to the plans.

Highlights are the recent appearance of community and school orchards, increasing biodiversity opportunities by changing management techniques in Parks & Public Open Spaces, public involvement in the Churchyards and Cemeteries, Roadside Verges, Barn Owl, Common Dormouse and Bloody Nosed Beetle action plans and the writing of a new plan for Hedgehog.

A new rolling programme of reporting began in 2015, starting with 8 action plans that showed considerable progress. The programme continued with 5 more batches of associated habitat plans and their species and was completed in 2021, a delay due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Progress Reports have been produced each year. 

Notable successes reported in 2016 were:

  • 67km of hedgerow restoration, 4 times our target, from hedgelaying, coppicing and gapping up
  • support for farmland birds, beetles and scarce arable plants through Natural England’s Wild Pollinator & Farm Wildlife package 
  • improvement of habitat for bees at 8 quarries with advice from Butterfly Conservation Warwickshire. 

Notable successes reported in 2017 were:

  • our targets for Calcareous Grassland exceeded, with almost twice the target area now in favourable condition, and five times the target area restored mostly by scrub control.
  • permanent colonies of the Small Blue Butterfly number 23, exceeding the Butterfly Conservation Warwickshire target of 20; the number of sites suitable for colonisation is now 41, a doubling of the target.
  • a huge success for degraded Open Mosaic Habitats with 40ha restored, four times our 2026 target.

Notable successes reported in 2018 were:

  • our targets for management, restoration and expansion of Marsh and Swamp have all been exceeded
  • 115ha of Wet Grassland and 77ha of Wet Woodland have been recorded
  • our targets for the management and expansion of Reed Beds have been exceeded and 24ha of new habitat created
  • The Coventry Canal through Coventry has been designated as the first canal Local Wildlife Site 

Notable successes reported in 2019 were:

  • For the Common Dormouse, a reduction in range since 2000 from 6 sites to 1 has been somewhat compensated for by 3 successful introductions in 2009, 2017 and 2018.
  • For the Wood White butterfly, our 2015 target for increasing the number of colonies from 1 to 2 has been achieved.
  • Our 2015 target for the expansion of Traditional Orchards has been achieved, with the planting of 13ha.
  • Our 2020 target for increasing biodiversity opportunities by changing management techniques in Parks & Public Open Spaces has already been vastly exceeded, with improvement at a minimum of 67 parks.
  • Our 2015 targets for the restoration and expansion of Woodland have been vastly exceeded, with the removal of conifers from 485ha of mixed woodland and the creation of 1825ha of new broadleaf woodland. 

Notable successes reported in 2021 were:

  • For Song Thrush, there has been a 52% growth in numbers nationally since 1994/5, with Warwickshire doing especially well.
  • For Gardens and Allotments, Warwickshire County Council’s Master Composter Scheme has run since 2014 with workshops twice a year in different districts

How the LBAP Partnership works

The LBAP provides a local response to the UK government's National Action Plans for threatened habitats and species:

  • it sets local targets in the 51 action plans.
  • the action plans have clear measurable targets and connect local people and organisations that are ideally placed to deliver the necessary action.

The partnership

We have a wide range of organisations and individuals involved – c.80 - in the LBAP. This large number of members all involved in nature conservation ensures that we are working towards the same priorities. The partnership is chaired by the Warwickshire Wildlife Trust and was formed in 2001 to develop the Warwickshire, Coventry & Solihull Local Biodiversity Action Plan. Presentations from the latest Local Nature Partnership (LNP) conference are available here. In total, five conferences have been held for the members. 

Within the wider group is a Steering Group of 25 members who meet to discuss matters referred to them by the Chair of the LBAP. The Steering Group welcomes the involvement of new organisations and individuals.

A small Core Group formed in 2005 to assist reporting on the progress of the action plans has been reviewing the action plans since 2012.  The review is now complete and progress with the action plans is being reported on, in a rolling programme of c.9 a year, ending in 2020.

The Biodiversity Action Plan Partnership - Core Group

  • Habitat Biodiversity Audit Partnership
  • Local Nature Partnership Implementation Group
  • Local Wildlife Sites Project
  • Warwickshire Bat Group
  • Warwickshire County Council
  • Warwickshire Dormouse Conservation Group

The Biodiversity Action Plan Partnership - Steering Group

  • Butterfly Conservation, Warwickshire
  • Canal & Rivers Trust
  • Coventry City Council
  • Environment Agency
  • Forestry Commission (West Midlands)
  • National Farmers’ Union
  • National Trust (West Midlands)
  • Natural England
  • North Warwickshire Borough Council
  • Nuneaton & Bedworth Borough Council
  • Royal Society for the Protection of Birds
  • Rugby Borough Council
  • Severn Trent Water
  • Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council
  • Stratford District Council
  • Warwick District Council
  • Warwickshire College
  • Warwickshire County Council
  • Warwickshire Geological Conservation Group
  • Warwickshire Wildlife Trust
  • West Midland Bird Club

The Biodiversity Action Plan Partnership: other organisations:

  • Bat Conservation Trust
  • Birmingham Diocesan Environmental Group
  • Brandon Marsh Conservation Volunteers
  • British Lichen Society
  • British Trust for Ornithology
  • Butterfly Conservation Warwickshire 
  • Campaign for the Farmed Environment
  • Campaign to Protect Rural England
  • Compton Verney
  • Coombe Country Park
  • Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
  • Country Land and Business Association
  • Coventry Diocesan Environmental Group
  • Coventry University
  • Deer Initiative
  • Dunsmore Living Landscape
  • Earlswood Wildlife Partnership
  • English Heritage
  • Friends of Baddesley Common
  • Friends of Brandon Wood
  • Friends of Hay Wood
  • Friends of Oversley Wood
  • Hanson Smiths Concrete
  • Heart of England
  • Highways Agency
  • Highways Authorities
  • Hill Close Garden Trust
  • Historic Environment Record
  • Historic Landscape Characterisation
  • Linking Environment & Farming
  • Local Education Authorities
  • Mid Shires Orchard Group
  • Mount Pleasant Orchard
  • Nature After Minerals
  • Otter Task Force
  • People’s Trust for Endangered Species
  • RIMO Growers, Thurleston
  • Rugby Natural History Society
  • Severn Rivers Trust
  • Shakespeare Birthplace Trust
  • Small Woods Association
  • St James' Church, Alveston
  • St Mary's Church, Oldberrow
  • Stour Valley Wildlife Action Group
  • Stratford Butterfly Farm
  • Sun Rising Natural Burial Ground
  • Sustrans
  • Tame Valley Wetlands Partnership
  • Thames Water
  • Trent Rivers Trust
  • Warwick University
  • Warwickshire Amphibian & Reptile Team
  • Warwickshire Association of Local Councils
  • Warwickshire Biological Record Centre
  • Warwickshire Conservation Volunteers
  • Warwickshire Dragonfly Groupe
  • Warwickshire Federation of Women’s Institutes
  • Warwickshire Flora Group (BSBI)
  • Warwickshire Hedgehog Rescue
  • Warwickshire Mammal Group
  • Woodland Trust

Individuals who support the Local Biodiversity Action plan:

David Brown, Marion Cornforth, Steven Falk, Tim Jobling and Phil Parr.

Funding Partners

The project would like to gratefully acknowledge the financial and in-kind support of the following organisations for the period 2001 -2011, with Natural England providing funds for a part-time coordinator role; Warwickshire County Council also provides IT support.

  • Colins & Aikman
  • Environment Agency
  • Forestry Commission
  • National Grid
  • Natural England
  • Nuneaton & Bedworth Borough Council
  • Roger Cadbury Charitable Trust
  • Royal Society for the Protection of Birds
  • Severn Trent Water
  • Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council
  • Stratford District Council
  • Warwick District Council
  • Warwickshire Amphibian & Reptile Team
  • Warwickshire County Council
  • Warwickshire Wildlife Trust
  • West Midlands Biodiversity Partnership