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Wiltshire Council summit brings together key players to discuss the natural environment

The purpose of the event was to bring together key players to better understand and explore the different collective expertise available and to share knowledge and ideas

Published 19 July 2022

Wiltshire Council has hosted a summit to bring key groups and organisations together to discuss opportunities to make meaningful long-term improvements to local biodiversity.

The council's Natural Environment Summit for Wiltshire 2022 took place at County Hall, Trowbridge on 15 July.

The purpose of the event was to bring together key players to better understand and explore the different collective expertise available and to share knowledge and ideas. It also looked at ways to work together to boost nature's recovery and mitigate climate change, with the Environment Act right at the heart of it.

A number of organisations and groups attended, including National Trust, RSPB, Wiltshire Wildlife Trust, Salisbury &Wilton Swifts and the River Marden Project.

Cllr Richard Clewer, Leader of Wiltshire Council, opened the event, and the keynote speaker was Dame Glenys Stacey, Chair of the Office for Environmental Protection, whose mission is to protect and improve the environment by holding government and other public authorities to account. The event also saw a variety of topics discussed, including a detailed look at the Environment Act and its opportunities, biodiversity net gain, and the important role of landowners in nature's recovery.  

Earlier in the year Wiltshire Council's Natural Environment Plan was adopted by the council and it was a finalist of the prestigious regional award in the category of 'Excellence in Plan Making Practice' at the RTPI South West Awards for Planning Excellence 2022.

Cllr Richard Clewer said:

"As a large rural authority we have a leading role to play to protect and enhance our natural environment, which will be to the benefit of people and nature. However, it's not something we can do alone, and it was really encouraging to see so many groups and organisations of influence attend our summit. They are clearly as passionate as we are to make a difference here in Wiltshire.

"The aim of this summit was to bring the topic of the natural environment and the new Environment Act into sharp focus and really get people thinking about the key part they can and must play in ensuring the county is more resilient to climate change and to help reverse biodiversity loss.

"Our Business Plan is clear in that we want Wiltshire to be a place where we all take responsibility for our environment, and we hope our summit has proven to be galvanising. We're looking forward to working together closely with everyone involved going forward."

The council's Natural Environment Plan has a significant role to play in delivering nature-based solutions for mitigating and adapting to climate change impacts to support the council's Climate Strategy. It will also inform the Local Plan by identifying needs, opportunities and guiding principles for provision of green and blue infrastructure.

The three main goals of the strategy are:

  • Mitigation, adaptation and resilience to climate change
  • Halting loss and improving biodiversity
  • Contributing to health and wellbeing
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