The Natural Environment and Rural Communities (NERC) Act 2006 introduced the duty for all public bodies to have regard to the conservation of biodiversity in all of their functions. The intention is that conservation of biodiversity should be a natural consideration in all public policies and decisions.
DEFRA has issued guidance on implementing the duty, including specific guidance for local authorities. Hampshire County Council's Corporate Biodiversity Action Plan is featured in this guidance as a model for other local authorities to follow.
The DEFRA guidance stresses the importance of biodiversity in maintaining and supporting environmental processes, health and wellbeing, recreation, the economy, education, culture, sense of place and social inclusion.
Hampshire County Council briefing note - New Biodiversity Duty for Local Authorities
Guidance from the Hampshire Biodiversity Partnership - Biodiversity Duty for Local Authorities