Biodiversity – the interconnected variety of plant and animal species – is in deep trouble. As habitats disappear because of ever-increasing development, or deteriorate because of damaging agricultural practices, as temperatures rise and as food chains and ecosystems are disrupted, more and more species are endangered or in decline. It’s something we know from direct experience, on Hambrook Marshes and in east Kent – fewer cuckoos, fewer skylarks, fewer swallows and swifts. Iconic species like these are just the most obvious examples. It is rightly described as a biodiversity crisis, and it is both a global crisis and a local crisis.
That is why Canterbury City Council has been asked to follow the example of some other local authorities and adopt a Declaration of Biodiversity Emergency. LHM trustee Sian Pettman started an e-petition on the Council’s website calling for this, and thanks to her incredible hard work it gathered over a thousand signatures in less than a month. Sian presented the petition to the Council meeting on 20th July, and councillors themselves proposed a motion recognising the need for a Biodiversity Emergency Declaration and asking for the detailed work to be done on what it should say. The motion had strong support from all the political parties and was approved unanimously. It was a good debate, with a lot of suggestions for positive action including cooperation between the Council and partners such as community groups, schools, farmers and landowners. We look forward to the formulation of a full Declaration. We hope that it will come to the next Council meeting, on 19th October, and that it will provide a comprehensive framework for action to restore nature, in which Love Hambrook Marshes can play its part.