Biodiversity Duty

Green fields and blue sky with moor in background

The Environment Act 2021 introduced a strengthened biodiversity duty which requires all public authorities in England to consider what they can do to conserve and enhance biodiversity.

Defra guidance on complying with the duty

The actions local authorities take for biodiversity will contribute to the achievement of national goals and targets on biodiversity. The Environmental Improvement Plan (EIP23) sets out Government’s plans for improving the natural environment.

By 2030, the Government has committed to halt the decline in species abundance; and to protect 30% of UK land to support the recovery of nature.

By 2042, the Government has committed to:

  • Increase species abundance by at least 10% from 2023
  • Restore or create at least 500,000 hectares of a range of wildlife rich habitats
  • Reduce the risk of species extinction; and
  • Restore 75% hectares of protected sites for habitats and species to thrive

In fulfilling its Biodiversity Duty Burnley Council must:

  • Consider what we can do to conserve and enhance biodiversity. This is known as the “first consideration”.
  • Agree policies and specific objectives based on that consideration
  • Act to deliver the policies and achieve these objectives and report on them
  • Reconsider/review those actions at least every five years

First consideration

The council’s first consideration of its Biodiversity Duty was published in December 2023. This document summarises the council’s current and planned actions that contribute towards the Biodiversity Duty and suggested future actions for consideration. Inclusion of any future actions at this stage does not mean that any commitment has been made to take action; it simply signals that these are areas that will need to be reviewed as part of the process of agreeing relevant policies and objectives.

Policy and objectives

Following the first consideration, the council must agree relevant policies and objectives for conserving and enhancing biodiversity. The council must have regard to the Local Nature Recovery Strategy and any relevant species conservation strategy.

Reporting of actions

The council is required to report on the actions taken to conserve and enhance biodiversity, achievements resulting from our actions, and proposed future actions.

The first Biodiversity Report is required to be published no later than 1st January 2026, and then every five years (at most) after that.