Published: Fri, 14 Aug 2015
For Nature Biodiversity Project 2015-2020.
In November 2014 the Environmental Policy Unit, Strategic Planning Department, initiated an external and internal collaborative project for urban biodiversity with the RSPB in Belfast. This 5-year Action Plan will focus on improving urban biodiversity grounds maintenance practices firstly in Belfast Region, with an intention to extend these to North and South Regions by 2020.
Through the implementation of small measures, this project will demonstrate how nature can thrive in our urban environment. Wildlife plays such a crucial role in enriching people’s lives and without it, many people would have no access to nature and all the benefits it brings. Since November 2014 Catherine Savage from our Environmental Policy Unit has facilitated in the collaboration with RSPB and Keith Porter, Grounds Maintenance HQ and Malachy Brennan, Grounds Maintenance Belfast in developing the Biodiversity Action Plan and a Grounds Maintenance Plan for the Housing Executive 2015-2020.
The Action Plan which has been tailored to meet specific objectives have been agreed with the RSPB along with annual measurable targets assigned to various actions and performance indicators.
In June 2015 the RSPB facilitated a 1-day biodiversity workshop for all Grounds Maintenance Staff and DLO Grounds Superintendents to provide them with the knowledge to protect and enhance biodiversity while carrying out grounds maintenance activities. This was followed by a collaboration workshop attended by the Housing Executive on 18th June 2015 aimed at facilitating partnerships across the 9 organisations participating in the ‘Pledge for Nature’.
This collaborative approach will give organisations an opportunity to actively seek ways of working together to facilitate urban and rural biodiversity by creating wildlife corridors between landholdings and community projects, promoted through biodiversity action plans and community planning
This project is a good example of the Environmental Policy Unit, Strategic Planning Department enabling and facilitating collaborative working with Grounds Maintenance Teams in Landlord Services and the Third Sector NGO’s to improve and enhance our environment for sustainability.