Neath Port Talbot Council's Cabinet has approved the authority’s updated Biodiversity Duty Plan (2023-2026), a blueprint for conserving and enriching the wealth of nature thriving in the County Borough.
The decision to commend the plan to full council for approval later this month, taken on Wednesday, November 8th, 2023, shows the council is striving to discharge its important duty under the Environment (Wales) Act 2016 for responsible stewardship and forward-thinking action for nature conservation.
Neath Port Talbot, nestled along the picturesque coastline between Swansea and Bridgend, boasts an astonishing array of habitats and species, from marshy grasslands which host the rare Marsh Fritillary Butterfly, to ancient woodlands sheltering the elusive Honey Buzzard and the extremely rare Blue Ground Beetle.
There are also lowland wetlands and canals and coastal dunes and saltmarshes bordering Swansea Bay along with upland peat bogs, stretching into Rhondda Cynon Taf, painting a vivid picture of the region's ecological diversity.
Neath Port Talbot boasts:
- The only populations of Fen Raft Spider, Ox-tongue Broomrape and Blue Ground Beetle in Wales.
- 21 Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs).
- One of the best bat sites in Wales – Margam Country Park – hosting 14 different species of the flying mammals.
- 21 UK Red Listed birds currently breeding in Neath Port Talbot.
- 950 hectares of protected land.
- Many rare and vulnerable plants including Deptford Pink, Sea Stock and Basil Thyme.
- The Shrill Carder Bee – one of only five areas in the UK to host the rare bees.
Councillor Wyndham Fryer Griffiths, Neath Port Talbot Council’s Cabinet Member for Strategic Planning, Transport and Connectivity, said in a foreword to the plan:
“Engagement with nature has profound benefits for wellbeing and the council takes great pride in offering such accessibility to nature for its residents.
“In 2021, the Welsh Government declared a nature emergency and the NPT Local Nature Partnership confirmed that UK and worldwide declines in biodiversity are mirrored in NPT. Special habitats and species in the region are under various threats, from habitat fragmentation to deteriorating conditions.
“That made it even more important for the council to pledge its unwavering commitment to protecting and enhancing biodiversity while carrying out its responsibilities, contributing to nature's recovery. “
The Biodiversity Duty Plan can be see here: https://democracy.npt.gov.uk/documents/s93462/Biodiversity%20Duty%20Plan%202023-2026.pdf
The Biodiversity Duty Plan 2023-2026 aims to build on the achievements of the previous Biodiversity Duty Plan (2020-2023), safeguarding and enhancing NPT's unique and diverse habitats and species, fostering a deeper connection between residents and their natural surroundings and contributing to the global commitment to biodiversity conservation and sustainability.
As well as commending the updated Biodiversity Duty Plan (2023-26) for council approval, the cabinet also commended for approval the Biodiversity Duty Plan (2020-2023) Implementation Report – this sets out what has been achieved during its three year period.