An Ecological Emergency has been declared by South Oxfordshire District Council.
The declaration reflects the council’s commitment to protect and restore the natural world – a key priority set out in the South Oxfordshire Corporate Plan.
The council agreed to declare the Ecological Emergency following a motion that was passed at the Council meeting on 11 February. It builds on the council’s declaration of a Climate Emergency in 2019, which was followed by a pledge to become a carbon neutral council by 2025 and a carbon neutral district by 2030.
The motion, which was proposed by Cllr Sam Casey-Rerhaye, explains: “The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the relationship between people and nature. When we destroy and degrade habitats, we increase the risk of disease spill-over from wildlife to people”
It also calls for the council to incorporate the climate and ecological emergencies and nature recovery as strategic priorities in planning policies. The council will now also look into establishing a Biodiversity Steering Group and to embed climate action and ecological initiatives within all council work areas, including COVID-19 recovery projects and programmes.
Cllr Casey-Rerhaye, Chair of the CEEAC, said: “We are seeing more and more tangibly how ecological issues are impacting nature and wildlife, and making the climate crisis even worse. We are already experiencing how this leads to extreme weather and has a detrimental effect on food production and so many other issues that ultimately endanger our lives and well-being and the world around us.”