An action plan for the conservation of priority species and habitats in Thurrock, 2007-2012
This Biodiversity Action Plan identifies the key biodiversity habitats and species for Thurrock and aims to:
Biodiversity stands for biological diversity, which means the whole variety of life on the planet. The vast array of plant, animal, fungi and bacteria species; the genetic varieties of these species whether man made or natural; and the complex interactions of these species which make up habitats and ecosystems.
Biodiversity, this intricate network of ecosystems, habitats, and species, provides the support system that sustains human existence. It cleanses the air we breathe, purifies the water we drink, provides our food, clothing, health and relaxation. It gives our local environment its distinctive character, whether it be estuary, river valley, or woodland. In cities and towns our green spaces make an important contribution to our quality of life, and influence our economies e.g. property prices.
The world is losing biodiversity at an increasing rate due to human activity. In the UK we have lost over 100 species this century, with many more close to disappearing at a local level. If action is not taken to halt this decline, we shall suffer both economic and spiritual loss, and hand on to our successors a planet poorer than the one we inherited.
The Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992 brought together the largest ever gathering of world leaders. The central message of the summit was summarised succinctly in Article 4 of the Rio Declaration: 'In order to achieve sustainable development, environmental protection shall constitute an integral part of the development process and cannot be considered in isolation from it'.
The UK was one of 153 countries to sign the Convention on Biological Diversity that required governments to develop strategies for the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity.
'Biodiversity: The UK Action Plan' published in 1994, set out broad strategies for biodiversity conservation in the UK for the next 20 years. A UK Biodiversity Steering Group was set up, and its report published in 1995 gave more detailed action plans for species and habitats of highest priority for conservation action. The report also promoted Local Biodiversity Action Plans as a means of implementing the national plan.
Essex Biodiversity Action Plan, published 1999, was developed by a steering group of representatives from local authorities, statutory agencies and voluntary organisations. The plan selects species and habitats from the UK list that are appropriate to Essex and also others of local conservation value, and details actions to be taken.
This plan aims to define priorities for Thurrock and detail practical local action to maintain or improve local biodiversity, and in doing so, contribute towards county and national biodiversity objectives. The Thurrock Biodiversity Action Plan has been developed by the Thurrock Biodiversity Action Group, a partnership of Thurrock Council and local organisations. The plan will be reviewed every five years (please see how to access PDFs).