The KNP's response to the climate emergency
Along with the county’s local authorities and county council, the Kent Nature Partnership recognises that we are in a climate emergency. The Partnership wants to support the response to this emergency, while at the same time addressing the interlinked ecological crisis facing our county’s biodiversity. The soon to be published Kent Biodiversity Strategy aims to help steer the collective action of conservationists, government, business and individuals to work in partnership so that the county’s natural landscape can be restored and threatened species can be saved.
Over a 25 year period the Strategy aims to deliver the maintenance, restoration and creation of habitats that are thriving with wildlife and plants, ensuring the county’s terrestrial, freshwater, intertidal and marine environments regain and retain good health. The Strategy looks to protect and recover threatened species and enhance the wildlife habitats that Kent is particularly important for. It also aims to provide a natural environment that inspires citizen engagement and is well used and appreciated, so that the mental and physical health benefits of such a connection can be realised by the people of Kent.
The environment presents many potential nature-based solutions to the climate emergency. Trees and hedgerows and habitats such as grassland, wetland and saltmarsh all provide natural carbon sinks that can provide a significant contribution to carbon neutrality targets. And the natural environment also provides other mitigation and adaption to the impacts of climate change, in particular for flooding and drought. In our actions to tackle the climate emergency, we will be simultaneously protecting and extending biodiversity and biomass.
The Strategy also acknowledges the Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan commitment to extend tree cover in England and includes a specific objective to protect and restore existing trees and woodland at the same time as increasing the county’s tree cover. Crucially this places a focus on the right trees in the right places and planting that supports the recovery of wildlife, delivers natural climate solutions and enriches people’s lives.
Whilst it is very important to increase tree cover in the county, we must be careful that increasing tree cover doesn’t lead to the loss of rare and special habitats or pose any risk to our native flora from tree disease and pests. Advice for tree planting in Kent can be found here
The Nature Recovery Network and associated Local Nature Recovery Strategies will be instrumental in providing the spatial frameworks in which biodiversity can recover and help tackle the climate emergency. The Kent Biodiversity Strategy, and the Partnership’s other work on natural capital, gives us the basis and evidence for our local priorities. And a well-designed framework for Biodiversity Net Gain and natural capital assets will help direct investment to where it is most needed.