Biodiversity conservation and enhancement should be appropriately integrated throughout all departmental policies and activities. This is reflected in the new Natural and Rural Communities (NERC) Biodiversity Duty 2006 that sets out the statutory obligations for Local Authorities with regards to biodiversity.
The guidance notes that:
'one of the most direct impacts a local authority can have on biodiversity is through the management of their own land and buildings'.
The guidance recommends carrying out an audit programme to assess the potential resource. It also states that:
‘effective protection and management of designated sites requires all parts of the council to be aware of their location and extent. Appropriate information should be provided to staff about their location, protection and management’
The project hopes to address this obligation by producing a schedule of SINCs for each departmental group. This will contain information on the survey and designation process, the habitat and species criteria and maps of all SINCs the group is responsible for. This will help to raise the awareness of staff, managers and elected members of how their own decisions and actions could relate to biodiversity and protected local wildlife sites.
The project also supports several of the targets in the Corporate Biodiversity Action Plan, which aims to promote integrated working for biodiversity conservation across all departments of the County Council.