Public authorities have a key role to play in conserving biodiversity, through their work in: developing and implementing external and internal policies and strategies; administering the planning system; managing their land and buildings; developing infrastructure; engaging with business and the public; conducting research and managing information; making decisions about procurement; and implementing economic, environmental and social programmes.
Public authorities have a Duty to have regard to the conservation of biodiversity in exercising their functions. This Duty was introduced by the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act and came into force on 1 October 2006. The Duty aims to raise the profile and visibility of biodiversity, clarify existing commitments with regard to biodiversity, and to make it a natural and integral part of policy and decision making.
The Duty applies to all public authorities including local authorities, central government departments, executive agencies, non departmental public bodies, regional government offices, non-ministerial departments, NHS Trusts, regional assemblies, utilities and all other bodies carrying out functions of a public character under a statutory power.
For more information on the Biodiversity Duty click on the links below:
Wiltshire, Swindon and Cotwold Water Park Biodiversity Partnerships organised a conference in June 2007 called "Public Bodies and Biodiversity: Conserving Wildlife in Wiltshire". The aim of the event was to inform local authorities about the their duties under section 40 of the NERC act. The proceedings from the conference, a leaflet and poster produced for the conference are available below: