Statement to the Clean & Green Committee. 6th June 2023.
When Vision RCL was created, the officers were absorbed into that organization, with the Senior Officer, Frances Castro, being given the extra role of Borough Ecologist – with the same remit as he had with the Council, before the transfer.
Vision is effectively saying Nature Conservation only takes place in the Borough’s parks and whilst it has been muted that Planning will look for an Ecology expert, the AHDA feel this is not sufficient or robust enough.
It is acknowledged that climate change has and will continue to alter the landscape, this will and continues to be seen, not only in our parks, and larger open green spaces, but highway verges, cemeteries, and residents’ gardens, back or front!
If the Borough wants to actively maintain, support and protect Nature Conservation in Redbridge, then we need a professional, who will give acknowledged advice to ensure that planning details such as the 10% Biodiversity Net Gain, are achieved and not sidelined.
Increased usage of green spaces is good for people, both physically and mentally, but Nature needs to be protected too and that must be done firmly and perhaps with an educational element on how we can all do this.
The original Nature Conservation Strategy was put into place in 1997, and to be reviewed, the same with SINC to be reviewed every 5-10 years, clearly the slippage on these means that there is a lot of catching up to do, not only in terms of planning and ensuring the Borough’s policies are water-tight but to ensure that Redbridge residents have access to not just green spaces but Nature itself, wherever it is in the Borough.
Mark Baigent, Corporate Director of Regeneration and Culture made an offer to have a discussion with the concerned members of the public.