COUNTRYSIDE & BIODIVERSITY

  

Local people, landscape specialists and conservationists creating better green spaces

An exciting new partnership between idverde and the RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) will help improve the understanding and role Friends of Parks groups and residents can play in both discovering and looking after the wildlife and plants in their neighbourhood.

The innovative approach will see a dedicated member of the RSPB team based in Bromley, working with idverde, the Council’s greenspace management contractor, to help deliver the Council’s Biodiversity strategy.  The work underlines the commitment to maintain, enhance and restore Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINCS) and other green spaces for biodiversity.

The partnership will play a key role in helping their community become a greener place that benefits both people and wildlife which will create a green legacy for future generations.

As London’s largest and greenest London Borough, it contains the landscape which helped inspire Charles Darwin, with the Borough continuing to have a strong connection to its natural environment, with 93 Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINCs), six Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) and five Local Nature Reserves (LNRs).

The two organisations will be working closely to ensure the much-loved borough remains vibrant and welcoming to people as well as serving as an important and valuable natural habitat supporting a wide range of plants and animals. A key element of this work will be creating opportunities for everyone in the area to discover the wildlife and fantastic variety of species living in their neighbourhood.

Councillor Colin Smith, Executive Councillor for Environment said: “It is vital to never forget that we are all only transient guardians of our Parks and Greenspaces and hold a debt and duty to protect not only what we have been blessed to enjoy ourselves, but also for future generations too, and this is why the partnership work between the Council, idverde and Bromley’s ‘Friends of Parks’ groups is so important.

The depth of skills which idverde bring to the table in tandem with the obvious strengths of the country’s largest nature conservation charity, the RSPB, is excellent news for Bromley’s people and green environment given the added dynamism and benefits their joint working will bring, particularly over the longer term, where such planning and commitment is so vital.”

John Pemberton, idverde’s Conservation and Education Development Manager, commented: “We are delighted to be working with the RSPB, an organisation whose values align with our own, and many of our Friends and other stakeholders. Collaborative approaches to conservation are essential if we are to safeguard our biodiversity for future generations. We hope that through our partnership, the RSPB will be able to continue its valuable work alongside idverde in enabling and empowering the communities of Bromley to engage with the nature on their doorstep and make a positive impact.”

Nigel Symes, Head of Business Advice at the RSPB said: “There is a growing body of research revealing the long-term benefits to people’s well-being from living in an urban area with access to green spaces. So it is really exciting to be working alongside idverde to give local people the tools they need to find out more about the important role Bromley is playing in providing a home for species and what we can all do to enhance and cherish the green spaces in our neighbourhood.”

Steven Lofting working with the community for the idverde and RSPB partnership in Bromley

With one of the largest areas of countryside, woodland cover and green space remaining in London, Bromley contains a wide range of semi-natural habitat types including ancient woodlands, wetlands, chalk, acid and neutral grasslands, veteran trees, farmlands and lowland heath and valley mire.

Bromley has 93 sites of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINCs), which includes six Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs), three of which are owned by Bromley Council (Crofton Woods, Keston & Hayes Commons and Downe Bank & High Elms) and 5 Local Nature Reserves (LNRs).

Part of the borough is also included within the Kent Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).  idverde’s aim is to protect and conserve Bromley’s countryside and provide facilities, access and opportunities for people to enjoy it.

idverde is responsible for the management of over 41 woodland sites (owned by LB Bromley) covering 553 ha across the borough.  These woodlands consist of ancient semi-natural woodland (ASNW), carr (wet woodland), secondary, mature scrub, with areas of coppice and a small area of conifer plantation.  Bromley contains around one third of London’s ancient woodlands and nearly one quarter of Bromley’s Green Belt area is wooded.

Nature Reserves

We manage 5 Local Nature Reserves in Bromley in partnership with Friends Groups and the local communities, site information can be found clicking the links below.

 

What is biodiversity?

Biodiversity is simply the ‘diversity of life on Earth’;  incorporating mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, invertebrates, plants, algae, fungi and micro-organisms such as bacteria and viruses…and us!  It includes the complex relationships between different species and with their physical surroundings.

Globally and locally, the species and habitats around us need protecting, with positive management to help them thrive.  In doing so these living networks can continue to support and benefit everyone!  idverde works to conserve and enhance Bromley’s biodiversity by supporting the Bromley Biodiversity Partnership, dedicating staff time regionally and locally to advise and support biodiversity projects.  We do this by working in partnership with Friends groups and environmental organisations to undertake conservation work and promoting best practice to safeguard wildlife.

The Bromley Biodiversity Plan 

The Bromley Biodiversity Plan is a guidance document for anyone who has an interest in, or an impact upon the borough’s biodiversity.  Any green space has value for wildlife, from open farmland to your own back garden.  We can all contribute to protecting and enhancing biodiversity in Bromley, first by recognising the wealth of habitats and species we have in the borough and secondly by our actions upon them.

 

For more detailed guidance on how your actions can benefit biodiversity please read the Bromley Biodiversity best practice guidelines:

Walking Trails in Bromley

A selection of trail leaflets around nature reserves in Bromley are below:

There are also a number of walking trails and audio tours that explore the countryside Darwin called his ‘landscape laboratory’ and celebrate how Charles Darwin formulated his amazing theory of evolution in the Kent countryside: