Revel in district's beauty on World Environment Day

The cathedral and nearby gardens

Protecting the environment, promoting biodiversity and tackling climate change will play a key role in the district’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

Protecting the environment, promoting biodiversity and tackling climate change will play a key role in the district’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

That is the message from Canterbury City Council on World Environment Day which is being marked today (Friday 5 June). This year’s theme is biodiversity.

The authority, which declared a climate emergency in July last year along with its intention to reduce its carbon emissions to net zero by 2030, is working on plans to get the district back on its feet at the same time as pulling together its climate change action plan, delivering its air quality action plan and reviewing its Local Plan - the council’s formal planning blueprint allocating land for homes, jobs, community use and open space into the future.

Leader of the Council, Cllr Robert Thomas, said: “Nearly a quarter of the district is either within sites of special scientific interest or local wildlife sites and has a wonderful array of habitats.

“We can boast about our coast, heaths, wetlands, woodlands, grasslands and meadows - much of it is accessible to the public and an important part of our health and wellbeing.

“On World Environment Day, we need to celebrate and revel in the natural beauty all around us, realise how lucky we are and understand we are the custodians of it for future generations.

“When it comes to protecting the district’s biodiversity we are learning quickly and recognise that not everyone thinks we get it right the first time.

“But our heart is in the right place and we have embarked on a journey that means we understand the challenges we are now facing and how we must change to succeed in overcoming them.

“We are proud to be working with and listening to a wide range of people, groups and organisations as we adapt to the world changing around us.”

The council's existing work promoting biodiversity includes:

  • Restoring contaminated land and working with Kent Wildlife Trust to bring back the green winged orchid at Wraik Hill
  • Working with Natural England in managing the beach at the Long Rock reserve. While the council was on site recently to undertake emergency beach management works, its contractor excavated the full length of the infilled Swalecliffe Brook as it meanders through the beach to improve the saline habitat and provide added protection to the bird roosting area
  • Operating river sluice gates to help boost biodiversity on the northern arm of the Stour, especially through Kingsmead Field. This means the council needs to operate the sluice gates more often depending on rainfall and other factors
  • Working alongside the Environment Agency as part of the Canterbury Riverside Group
  • Working in partnership with RSPB to create a new wetland reserve of international value for overwintering birds on a former planning enforcement site at the Seasalter Levels
  • Being part of the Bird Wise East Kent project which aims to help protect thousands of wintering birds along the Canterbury and Thanet coastlines by raising awareness of the steps people can take to help. Project officer Michael Lee visits schools to run talks and activity sessions, holds events and coastal walks and provides free dog training sessions among many other initiatives
  • Working with Kent Wildlife Trust to conserve one of the densest populations of dormice in Kent at Larkey Valley Wood
  • Working with the Friends of Duncan Down to double the size of Duncan Down to create a huge new nature reserve for Whitstable including large new grassland areas and woodland planting
  • Working closely with Natural England, the Environment Agency and English Heritage along with charities like the RSPB, Kent Wildlife Trust and the Kentish Stour Countryside Partnership
  • Supporting and working closely with local groups such as the Friends of Duncan Down, the Friends of Kingsmead Field, the Friends of Westgate Parks and the Friends of Prospect Field
     

Published: 5th June 2020