Mid Suffolk councillors agree green spaces review
Councillors in Mid Suffolk have voted unanimously to launch a review of the district’s green spaces, aimed at making best use of the natural environment to improve residents’ wellbeing and tackle climate change.
The motion was proposed by Cllr Rachel Eburne, leader of Mid Suffolk District Council’s Green and Liberal Democrat Group and seconded by Cllr Jessica Fleming, Mid Suffolk’s Cabinet Member for Environment. All councillors present at the meeting supported to the motion.
Proposing the motion, Cllr Eburne said:
“Mid Suffolk District Council recognises the significant impact of green space on the health and wellbeing of its citizens and is aware that many communities are calling for green spaces to be enhanced and protected. We also know that green space can contribute significantly to the climate change and biodiversity targets in the district, in line with the Council’s climate change reduction and biodiversity action plans, and also contribute greatly to the health and wellbeing of residents.“I welcome the level of support this motion has received and look forward to the outcome of the review.”
Seconding the motion, Cllr Fleming said:
“We have already agreed to prepare additional planning guidance to support our biodiversity commitments, and the inclusion of well-designed green spaces for all new housing developments will add a health and wellbeing element to our biodiversity programme.
“Green spaces play such an important role in the wellbeing of residents and health of our planet so I welcome this review and the support it has received tonight.”
It comes four months after the council approved its first Biodiversity Action Plan – setting out how it aims to protect and strengthen biodiversity in the district and supporting the council’s carbon neutral aims. The plan was developed by a cross-party Biodiversity Task Force, supported by experts. It is the product of a biodiversity emergency motion passed by Mid Suffolk in 2019.
Headline commitments include:
- developing a wildlife network map - to help identify and create important wildlife corridors, and tree and hedge planting areas. This will aim to enhance connectivity and improve management of existing as well as future Local Nature Reserves and wildlife sites in the district
- planting wildflower meadow verges and changing strict grass cutting regimes where suitable; encouraging bees and insects
- working with town and parish councils and local communities to identify areas where trees and hedges can be planted
- increasing hedge planting through the DEFRA Hedgerows and Boundaries Grant scheme, and helping to fund planting which isn’t eligible where possible
- developing a Supplementary Planning Document linked to the Joint Local Plan - to strengthen biodiversity protections and set out the districts’ expectations for design, landscaping and open space elements of new developments
- exploring the possibility of a green burial site