12th November 2020

Town Council acts to safeguard wildlife

At last night’s Environment and Planning Committee meeting, a motion was proposed by Cllr Dom Newton, and seconded by Cllr Tom Lomax, to protect wild animals across the town in areas which the Town Council manage, in recognition of the threat posed by culling, hunting, loss of habitat, the use of pesticides and light pollution.

“I am pleased to extend our commitment to protect mammals and other creatures in Bradford on Avon. England is losing its native wildlife so quickly and that is such a tragedy. We all need to work together to turn this around. In the 21st century, making iconic species extinct should not be an option. Flourishing wild flora and fauna are imperative to human survival and well being, and it’s time we recognise ourselves as part of this interlinked biodiversity, as opposed to the masters of it.”
said the committee’s chair, Deputy Mayor Cllr Alex Kay.


Wildlife Protection Policy Statement:

In consideration of our declaration of an ecological emergency in June 2020, and in furtherance of the agreed Town Council Policy on Biodiversity, this Council notes the following:  

  • That areas within the town boundary and other lands controlled by the Town Council, are home to a biodiverse range of wildlife, ranging from microscopic through to larger mammals, and acknowledging the importance of ALL of these species, including species such as badgers, otters, bats and foxes;  
  • That UK wildlife and biodiversity is under increasing threat with 1 in 4 species of mammals in England at risk of extinction (1), and 13% of species overall;  
  • That around 40% of indicator species have shown a decline in the last 10 years (2)  
  • That human activity is both directly and indirectly responsible for a significant proportion of this change;  

In noting the above, the Town Council resolves that:  

  • It will do all in its powers to protect wildlife within the town boundary, and on other lands that the Town Council controls (by ownership or management);  
  • It will, as far as the law allows, deny access to those engaged in, and otherwise prohibit, culling or hunting and other types of animal destruction on lands that it controls or manages, or on which it has tenants, and will refuse consent to, and access to or across Town Council lands for those purposes; where necessary, this will include deployment of non-lethal methods of rodent control* on Town Council lands;  
  • As part of our Ecological Emergency action plan, to provide access to information encouraging the reduction of the harmful impact of human behaviours on wildlife; and work with the public, Town Council tenants, and other local landowners to support appropriate management of animal populations through alternative methods, including, but not limited to: 
  • Reducing as far as possible the use of pesticides (something that is known to affect not only pollinators, but through impacts on the food chain, a wide range of other species such as birds, bats, and plants); 
  • It will support and actively promote projects that encourage biodiversity and help species, particularly those at risk, to thrive in balance with our natural environment, including, but not limited to; 
  • Developing a lighting strategy for Bradford on Avon and sharing information that will help people to understand how to minimise light pollution from their homes, industrial sites, and community facilities such as sports pitches; 
  • Facilitating the natural regeneration of habitats good for wildlife, including tall hedgerows, areas of scrub and tall grassland.
  • It will identify, protect, and if necessary create a ‘green infrastructure’ across Bradford on Avon. This will provide improved habitat within the town, and also deliver vital connectivity for wildlife with the wider landscape.   
(1) https://www.mammal.org.uk/2020/07/one-quarter-of-native-mammals-now-at-risk-of-extinction-in-britain/ 
(2) https://nbn.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/State-of-Nature-2019-England-summary.pdf 

Following the meeting Leader of the Council, Cllr Dom Newton said:

“It’s great that Councillors have supported this resolution tonight, which strongly signals our intention to protect and support wild mammals that inhabit the land of which the Town Council is a custodian. It prohibits culling and hunting across lands owned and managed by the council, which will help to create a haven for threatened species, commits us to non-lethal methods for control of certain species, and also to providing information to help people make choices with biodiversity at their heart.”

Gina Adams, a local resident who attended last night’s meeting and is concerned about ongoing badger culling in Wiltshire, said:

“This protection is urgently needed.  Our local badgers are facing extinction, as Bradford on Avon is in the middle of a four-year intensive badger cull aiming to kill 70-95% of Wiltshire’s badgers. There is overwhelming evidence that badgers are not responsible for the TB pandemic in cows, and our local badgers need people to protect them if they are to survive.”

The Wildlife Protection Policy enhances the protections given by the Biodiversity Policy that Full Council adopted in June 2020, and falls under the Town Council’s declaration of both Climate and Ecological Emergencies (March 2019 and July 2020) and will inform the management of all green spaces in our care.

Want to find out more?

To find out more about the crisis facing wild mammals in the UK visit The Mammal Society’s website HERE

To read Town Council news relating to the the Climate and Ecological Emergencies, go to the News categories here:

Climate Emergency


Members of the public are also encouraged to attend the Environment and Planning Committee Meetings which are currently held on Zoom due to the ongoing pandemic. Upcoming meetings can be viewed HERE
Finally, if you would like to propose a project focusing on tackling elements of the Climate or Ecological Emergencies, contact Cllr Alex Key or Cllr Dom Newton.

*Following articles in the national press on 18th November 2020, please refer to the following clarification regarding pest control on Town Council land: https://bradfordonavontowncouncil.gov.uk/clarification-on-pest-control/