Councillors defer Biodiversity Action Plan approval

Shay Bottomley
Tour Cookham's best wildlife spots on April 10

Councillors voted to defer approval of the Royal Borough’s Biodiversity Action Plan at a cabinet meeting on Thursday evening.

The plan was created following the council’s declaration of a climate emergency and its subsequent publication of an Environment and Climate Strategy in 2019 and 2020 respectively.

Created in collaboration with wildlife groups, the BAP is due to run from 2021-2026 and seeks to provide 30 per cent of land across the borough by 2030 in line with a target set by the Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust.

However, at Thursday’s cabinet meeting, lead member for climate action and sustainability Cllr Donna Stimson (Con, St Mary’s) informed colleagues the approval of the plan would be deferred to a meeting in June.

Cllr Stimson told councillors that ‘adopting our Biodiversity Action Plan is an important step for the borough’.

She added: “From a number of recent discussions, it has become clear that there has been a misunderstanding of the plan by some key stakeholders.

“Therefore, we have decided to defer this paper to cabinet in June, which will allow for further engagement to occur as it is important that we have as broad a range of stakeholders as possible brought into the plan to ensure its success.”

The lead member said that she would be asking for support from the RBWM Climate Partnership in reviewing the BAP and engagement on the detail of the plan, adding her thanks to everyone who had helped to work on the plan.

“The work to protect and enhance our local environment will continue in the meantime, alongside the excellent work at Braywick Nature Centre helping to deliver educational projects across the borough,” said Cllr Stimson.

“The Biodiversity Action Plan will not stop because it has not been adopted this evening; the plan is partly the reason why we have expanded our team, and they will start to work on the measuring and enhancing of habitats and species and continuing to engage with residents.

“Thank you, and my profound apologies to all of you who were so looking forward to this plan going through this evening – I am one of you.”

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