The Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) is welcome as a starting plan, I and others consider there are a number of key elements that need to be included if the BAP is to be considered fit for purpose:

  • Plan/Roadmap for delivery with specifics and
  • measurable outcomes not just key indicators with
  • resourcing; financial support
  • Biodiversity Officer,
  • Biodiversity Forum with good representation
  • SDCC internal cross cutting group to ensure what happened to Tallaght Wetlands does not happen again and to ensure biodiversity protection is embedded in all policy and operations

There are also a number of plans and strategies that are cross cutting for biodiversity i.e. they either have a biodiversity focus or potential to impact biodiversity:

  • County Development Plan
  • Living with Trees: South Dublin County Council’s Tree Management Policy 2015-2020.
  • Green Infrastructure Strategy
  • Open Space Strategy
  • Climate Action Plan
  • South Dublin County Council Heritage Plan 2010-2015
  • Landscape Character Assessment for South Dublin County (2015)

 

How are these policies and plans integrated for implementation and on the ground/operation for the protection of biodiversity in SDCC? What are the cross cutting aspects? These need to be identified in the BAP to arrive at clarity and to protect biodiversity. There needs to be a review mechanism to ensure alignment across all and progress for biodiversity and ensure all are fit for purpose. This needs to be actioned, responsibility assigned, time framed and outcome for biodiversity set.

I also consider that the Green Infrastructure Strategy (GIS) needs to be afforded a separate consultation like the Open Space Strategy (OSS) given that both are among the pivotal documents underpinning the Biodiversity Action Plan. The intention, I believe is to have the public consultation for the GIS as part of the County Development Plan (CDP). This I think undermines the importance of the GIS and serves to bury it somewhat in the CDP consultation.

I am seeking a separate consultation process for the GIS, given its importance for the BAP and for establishing the Green Infrastructure Network and as one of the main documents outlining how ecological connectivity and biodiversity corridors and hubs will be determined.

Given the Climate and Biodiversity crisis we are in I ask How will the BAP protect and enhance biodiversity in a measurable way?