Communities

Wood anenome (Craig Blackwell)

Wood anenome (Craig Blackwell)

‘Volunteers are not paid – not because they are worthless, but because they are priceless.’ (Anon)

Roselle Chapman our Community Ecologist is aiming to gather a baseline of phase 1 surveys of all sites managed by volunteer groups – so we know who’s managing what habitats and is happy to offer any wildlife advice or support as requested, email roselle@wildoxfordshire.org.uk

Wild Oxfordshire works to support the hundreds of volunteers who give their time to look after local wildlife. We also provide advice and support to Parish Councils who are interested in conservation and the enviroment.

Environment Groups
We are fortunate in Oxfordshire to have over 80 community groups  attracting more than 1,000 volunteers actively working to conserve wildlife in their local ‘patch’. These groups are run by local residents, generally with the support of the parish council. Some groups may be restoring ponds, while others are planting trees and hedgerows, creating meadows or managing their churchyard for wildlife. The work of each local group is vital to provide a mosaic of essential habitats across our county. Some groups are also contributing to atmospheric carbon reduction through woodland management for woodfuel.  If you would like to join a local environment group in your area you will be made very welcome. Find them listed in the Directory according to local authority.

Parish Councils

  1. The Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006 (Section 40) requires all local authorities to ‘have regard for their local biodiversity’.
  2. A Community-Led Plan sets out a VISION of how your community wants to develop and identifies the ACTION needed for you to achieve it. These plans,sometimes called Parish Plans, are produced by communities, for communities. Oxfordshire Rural Community Council support communities to create and activate their plan. (link to ORCC)
  3. Neighbourhood Plans  the 2011 Localism Act  allows local communities to shape new development by  writing a neighbourhood plan. Neighbourhood planning is a new way for communities to shape the future of the places where they live and work. It creates a document which, if it passes examination, has legal force. District Authorities will take account of a Neighbourhood Plan when considering new development.
  4. If you’re involved in developing a Neighbourhood Plan download The Community and Parish Guide to Biodiversity for Oxfordshire and the Planning for the environment at the neighbourhood level.

Some communities will find it useful to do a Community Led Plan before moving on to a Neighbourhood plan. Both Community Led Plans and Neighbourhood Plans require communities to consult widely and create a vision for their parish. Their natural environment is the vital background to their vision, the places where they relax, take exercise, meet friends and neighbours. Councils can improve their natural environment by managing hedgerows and roadside verges for wildlife, joining up or extending footpaths and bridleways, making a wildife area, planting a community orchard, planting  woodland for community woodfuel. If planning to influence development they can also consider installing sustainable drainage systems, starting renewable energy schemes, requiring street trees in their new development for climate cooling and reduction of pollution, and other ideas.