Cornwall now has an overarching strategy for the environment – A first of its kind, the strategy is a 50 year plan of environmental growth and is focused on helping nature to do more for us.
Launched this morning by Cllr Edwina Hannaford, Cornwall Council’s Portfolio Holder for Planning and Environment Strategy at the CIOS Local Nature Partnership Annual Conference, Cornwall’s ‘Environmental Growth Strategy’ will aim to encourage businesses, communities and individuals to work together to increase the environmental, social and economic prosperity in Cornwall.
Cllr Hannaford told delegates “This Environmental Growth Strategy is not just a Council document: it is a strategy to ensure Cornwall has a sustainable future.”
“This is important because we continue to witness the decline of nature in Cornwall” added Professor Kevin Gaston, co-chair of the Local Nature Partnership. “Once common species, such as the hedgehog are becoming increasingly rare. We need environmental growth because protection has not proved to be enough; we are committed to leaving Cornwall in a better state than we inherited it in.”
Matthew Thomson, co-chair of the CIoSLNP, also urged everyone to do their bit; “We rely on Cornwall’s environment and natural systems for food, clean air, water and to underpin our quality of life: Cornwall’s brand is defined by our location and unique environment.“ he said. “Nature does a lot for us…. We must do all we can for nature”.
Councillor Hannaford is making sure the Council is leading action on the Strategy delivery. “This is a Strategy for every business, every community and every individual person in Cornwall to put into action to help deliver environmental growth in their sectors, neighbourhoods and lives.
“There are many ways the Council can help to deliver environmental growth. Our first major success is that we have recently secured £3.5m of European Regional Development Funds to match Council funding to create nature-rich habitats across a number of public open spaces as part of the our Green Infrastructure for Growth project; making them better places for wildlife and for people.”
Following the formal launch of the Strategy at the conference, a wide range of businesses, individuals and organisations pledged to also do their bit towards achieving environmental growth in Cornwall.
What is “Environmental Growth”?
The plan is based on an idea called “Environmental growth” that is as explained in the document the “By increasing the quality and productivity of our environment we will have a stronger foundation to grow our economy upon and make Cornwall a better place to be”.
“As our environment grows our economy and society grows too and prospers”
Environmental growth is the net gain of our natural systems – important because protection is not enough. Environmental growth will be achieved by: ‘ Securing our natural heritage and enhancing it through better management. ‘ Increasing our natural capital by increasing the size, number and connectedness of areas where nature thrives. ‘ Designing existing activities and new developments to enhance and support our natural systems.
The plan is based around four ‘ambitions’:
Experiencing Cornwall: More people have more positive and more frequent experiences of Cornwall’s environment
Achieving Environmental Growth: More people act to create environmental growth
Understanding Cornwall: More people understand our environmental challenges, solutions and make better decisions for Cornwall’s environment
Valuing Cornwall: More people actively value Cornwall’s environment throughout their lives
Rich tapestry of the past and present
- 145 Conservation Areas exist to protect historic character in towns and villages
- 30% of Cornwall is within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The Cornwall AONB covers 12 sites and the Tamar Valley AONB covers parts of Cornwall and Devon.
- 21 sites designated and protected by European Directives that lie wholly or partly within Cornwall
- 1,340 Scheduled Monuments and 8 designated wrecks
- 4-5% tree cover with records of 116 ancient trees and 1216 veteran trees exist for Cornwall. Trevarno Estate Cligga Head
- 48 sites in National Trust ownership across Cornwall including approximately 1/3 of the coastline
- 498 County Wildlife Sites in Cornwall covering nearly 33,000 hectares
- More than 12,500 Listed Buildings
- Over 400 beaches, with 80 designated Bathing Waters in 2016, 20% of the UK’s total.
- Agriculture utilises nearly 80% of the land, however, only one area is graded as ‘Excellent’ agricultural land
- 29 fishing harbours, 4 ports.
- 9 Marine Conservation Zones
- 724 km of coastline, with approximately 250km designated as Heritage Coast
- The Cornwall & West Devon Mining Landscape World Heritage Site is the largest in UK
- 37 registered parks and gardens
- 480km of the South West Coast Path
- 48,000 km Cornish hedges
- 4,500 km of Public Rights of way
- 167 Sites of Special Scientific Interest
- 12 Special Areas of Conservation
The full strategy document can be found here: Cornwall’s Full Environmental Growth Strategy 2015 – 2065
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