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AN ECO-FRIENDLY culture is being embedded at Powys County Council as they work to comply with the Environment (Wales) Act 2016.

At their meeting on Tuesday, June 15 members of the Independent/Conservative cabinet discussed a historic report from December 2019.

This explained how the authority was working to make “Biodiversity and Resilience of Ecosystems” an intrinsic part of working life.

Countryside access and recreation officer, Sian Barnes, said that the report should have been discussed by cabinet in the spring of 2020, but had been delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Ms Barnes said: “There are two parts to our duty which is around maintaining and enhancing biodiversity in the exercise of our functions.

“The first part is to produce a plan and the second is produce a report which shows what has been done to comply with the duties.”

“That report written in 2019 is being presented to members now as a reflection of the position at the time, it hasn’t been updated since.”

The next review, Ms Barnes explained, will be carried out before the end of December 2022.

By then PCC will have a better understanding of the targets they have put in place and the work being done to hit them.

Council leader Cllr Rosemarie Harris said: “It’s something that will involve all cabinet members as it involves all services.

“The specialist officer who is externally funded who takes this work forward, how long is that grant for?”

Ms Barnes replied that the grant ends in March 2022.

Cllr Harris asked whether services would understand what they need to do to comply with the act by then?

Ms Barnes said: “That’s something that needs consideration because the role is very much as a coordinator and facilitator to pull all that work together with specialist biodiversity expertise.”

Finance portfolio holder, Cllr Aled Davies said if there were an ongoing demand for the role, they would need to deal with that when “pulling” next year’s budget together.

Portfolio holder for young people and culture, Cllr Rachel Powell said: “I see this as a scoping exercise that gathers all the information from all the services.

“It makes you realise how much the council does and how we can work better together, I really value the report.”

The report was approved unanimously.

A summary of highlights and examples of biodiversity actions is included as part of the report includes:

Considering important species and habitats when planning major
Sensitive management of Local Nature Reserves which support health and
well-being by providing contact with nature.
Reducing the grass verge cutting in urban areas which has saved £39,500 a year for PCC.

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