Biodiversity is the whole range of living things, from the largest tree down to the smallest creature. It includes not only well known animals and flowering plants but also little known insects, mosses, lichens and fungi.
Protecting biodiversity means looking after the wide range of habitats that species live in and depend upon. Biodiversity can be found everywhere, not just in nature reserves and other designated sites but in gardens, streets and local parks, and in the open spaces, hedges and road verges we pass every day. The Earth's biological diversity benefits people through its intrinsic, ecological, genetic, social, economic, scientific, educational, cultural, recreational and aesthetic values.
In recent years, concerns about biodiversity loss have become paramount. Without this variability in the living world, ecological systems and functions would break down, with detrimental consequences for all forms of life, the impacts of which are impossible to predict. Consequently, biodiversity is essential to ensuring the basic ecological services and resources necessary to sustain the well-being, not only of current, but also future generations (World Conservation Monitoring Centre 1992).
In Dudley there are eight Sites Of Special Scientific Interest, of national importance for their geology and/or biodiversity. One of these, Fens Pools, is also a Special Area of Conservation, of European importance for great crested newts. Wrens Nest National Nature Reserve is internationally renowned for its geology and also supports an important bat hibernation site. The Council has declared seven Local Nature Reserves, the latest Barrow Hill, in July 2005.
These sites alone would be isolated and unable to support the biodiversity of the Borough if it was not for the green network of habitats such as ancient woodland, meadow, river and canal that link them together. Where mines, quarries and clay pits once fuelled the Industrial Revolution nature has often taken over allowing a variety of wildlife to flourish on people's doorsteps.
The Development Plan identifies 50 Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation, of West Midlands county-wide significance, and numerous locally important sites.
The Council works with a variety of partners to protect the Borough's biodiversity and geological interest.
Preparation of strategies, plans and policies for biodiversity, both Council documents and partnership initiatives such as:
Input into Council and external strategies and plans.
Declaration of nature reserves and identification of other important sites for nature conservation.
The Geo-technical team provides support services on all Dudley Council Development and Civil Engineering projects ranging from highways to school schemes.
There are two key service areas:
The group also provide general geotechnical advice to the private sector on Planning and Building control issues.