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  1. Since acknowledging the climate emergency in April 2019, Oxfordshire County Council has been working on a new action plan to accelerate the climate action programme to become carbon neutral by 2030. You can do your bit too:  20 actions parish and town councils can take on the climate and nature emergency.
  2. The Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006 (Section 40) requires all local authorities to ‘have regard for their local biodiversity’.
  3. 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.  Community First Oxfordshire  supports communities to create and activate their plan.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. Useful guidance is also found in Biodiversity and planning  and inspiration can be sought from the Kingsbrook development in Aylesbury, where the RSPB worked with Barratt Developments and Aylesbury Vale District Council to set a new benchmark for wildlife friendly new housing developments.

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 road verges for wildlife, joining up or extending footpaths and bridleways, making a wildife area, planting a community orchard, planting  woodland for community woodfuel. CEH’s Biodiversity Toolkit includes more than 20 wildlife management options suitable for housing developments. It also provides a guide on how best to improve green spaces for wildlife while involving residents in key decision making. If planning to influence development they can also consider planting for pollinators, 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.