AN ACTION plan for promoting nature and protecting wildlife is being drafted after a town-wide consultation. Analysis of more than 250 comments will be used to identify actions to be taken in six different categories across Uttoxeter.
The plan will encourage townsfolk, planners, developers and businesses to join forces in preserving and protecting natural habitats. Uttoxeter Town Council launched Uttoxeter Nature Recovery Network (UNRN) as a committee of partners working alongside the council’s biodiversity committee with the aim of encouraging wildlife and nature to thrive in the town.
In March a consultation, including an e-survey and discussion forum, gathered a host of information which has since been analysed to enable the creation of an action plan. Comments made by respondents have been divided into six categories:
• Making the town greener
• Insect Friendly Uttoxeter
• Engaging young people
• Making a difference for wildlife
Comments in each category were grouped into 53 different themes, which will be prioritised as the action plan is drafted out Deputy Mayor and chairman of the town council’s biodoversity committee, Cllr Carolyn Green said: “I was delighted that nearly 60 per cent of the people who responded to the consultation were willing to be actively involved in helping the Uttoxeter Nature Recovery Network initiative.
“The committee wants to encourage all our residents to become involved in helping Uttoxeter’s nature to thrive. If you would like to be involved in supporting Uttoxeter Nature Recovery Network or being involved in the Uttoxeter Town Council Biodiversity Committee please do contact us via email at: info@Uttoxetertowncouncil.org.uk. We would love to hear from you.”
The most popular ideas listed in the report included using social media to communicate with people, working with developers to incorporate a range of measures to enhance wildlife habitats and protect green areas as well as working with schools to encourage nature projects and promote wildlife. Other suggestions included ‘greening’ the town centre and new buildings, growing wildflowers on public land such as verges, turning Uttoxeter Quarry into a nature reserve, promoting insect and animal friendly gardens and showing people how to create wildlife homes such as bug hotels and bird boxes.
Analysis of the information gathered during the consultation found that 94 per cent of respondents agreed that it is important to help improve nature in Uttoxeter. 92 per cent agreed with aims to visit local organisations and schools to talk about plans and to encourage residents to take part in enhancing the town’s green areas. Hedgehogs were identified as a priority with 83 per cent of people keen to see plans put in place to protect the species and its habitat. Action days proved a popular idea with 43.6 per cent supporting suggestions for events such as ‘wilding’ days, information sessions about hedgehogs and many more.
The consultation found that trees and plants were highlighted in 44 per cent of responses. Birds were also mentioned as important in 37 per cent of responses followed by bees with 24 per cent. A brief document will set out priorities based on the consultation feedback and address how UNRN aims to develop links with other councils, form a communication strategy as well as consider sources of funding. A draft document is expected to be discussed at the next meeting of Uttoxeter Town Council in June.
Uttoxeter’s Town Mayor, Cllr Sue McGarry said: “I was thrilled to see so many at the recent biodiversity meeting held at the Town Hall and to see that since the consultation went live we have received well over 130 responses means that this project has been a great success.
“Uttoxeter has so many rural hidden hotspots and it’s up to the townsfolk to appreciate and look after the nature that is around us all. I am so happy that so many volunteers are giving up their time to work hard on this ongoing project. Congratulations to all involved.”
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