Why biodiversity matters?

Under the Natural Environment & Rural Communities Act 2006, we have a duty to consider biodiversity when carrying out all our functions and this is particularly relevant to the Council’s responsibilities in respect of the Local Development Plan and Development management.

Biodiversity is a core component of sustainable development, underpinning economic development and prosperity, and has an important role to play in developing locally distinctive and sustainable communities. The conservation and enhancement of biodiversity is vital in our response to climate change and in the delivery of key ecosystem services such as food, flood management, pollination and provision of clean air and water.

Nationally the Wales Biodiversity Partnership (WBP) brings together key players from the public, private and voluntary sectors to promote and monitor biodiversity action in Wales. WBP provides a leadership role and an expert steer on priorities for action on biodiversity in Wales.

We are committed to undertaking, reviewing and reporting on the action agreed annually with the Wales Biodiversity Partnership to meet our Biodiversity Duty under the NERC Act 2006.

We regard biodiversity conservation as an essential component of the vision for Carmarthenshire in the future, as demonstrated in the Integrated Community Strategy. This strategy has a vision to ‘Protect, enhance and conserve our natural and built environment and champion biodiversity in the County’. The council is one of the partner organizations on the Local Service Board that delivers the aims and objectives of the Community Strategy.

The natural environment of Wales supports the huge variety the wildlife that lives here. But we must remember that biodiversity also sustains our lives. A healthy natural environment is a vital part of a sustainable and robust society in Wales. Wildlife provides us with pleasure, inspiration and attractive communities.

Carmarthenshire’s natural environment matters to us all - in many different ways. Although it is not always obvious, biodiversity provides us with many of the things that sustain our lives, through a number of important services:

  • Provisioning - providing food (wheat, fish, etc.), fuel (timber, coal), fresh water, medicine, textiles.
  • Regulating - disposing of pollutants, controlling floods, absorbing carbon dioxide (greenhouse gases), stopping erosion.
  • Cultural – beautiful landscapes, a sense of place, recreation and tourism, inspiration and investigation from schoolchildren to scientists.
  • Supporting - maintaining soils and plant growth.

Biodiversity matters then for a whole variety of reasons: ethically, emotionally, environmentally and economically. It is at the very foundation of our society and the basis of our economic success and wellbeing.

A lot of these services we get for free! The cost of replacing these (if possible) would be extremely expensive. For example, bees are vital to our economy – they pollinate many of our crops such as strawberries and apples as well as animal fodder crops such as clover. In 2007 The National Audit Office collated research working out the value of honeybees to the UK economy. The values of the bees’ services were estimated at £200m a year. The retail value of what they pollinate was valued closer to £1bn.