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					                           Updates Bulletin Number 1

                           October 2006

Welcome to the first update bulletin from the North East Biodiversity Forum.
This bulletin is intended to provide a digest of information relevant to
biodiversity partners and I hope you will find the content useful. Please feel
free to pass on copies to anyone else who think may find it of interest.

Annual Partnership Conference 2007

The next Annual Partnership Conference of the North East Biodiversity Forum
will take place on Monday 12th March 2007 at County Hall in Durham. The
programme of speakers and workshops is still being put together but theme of
this year's conference will be Data and Recording. Full details of the event
will be sent out in the New Year.

Topic meetings

Over the next year the Biodiversity Forum will be holding a number 'topic
meetings' for members. These will be short meetings (anticipated to last an
hour or less) on a specific subject of interest to the Biodiversity Forum
membership and others. For the first topic meeting Sue Vaughan of the
Northern Rock Foundation will be giving a short presentation about the
Foundation's new grants programme and the opportunities that it offers. This
will be held at the Environment Agency offices in Newcastle at 12.30 on
Monday 4th December. Anyone is welcome to attend but if you do intend to
come along then please let me know in advance so that I can let the
Environment Agency know the numbers expected.

The subjects for future topic meetings have still to be finalised. Possible
topics include European Funding opportunities; biodiversity and sustainable
development; and the Regional Climate Change Action Plan. If you have any
suggestions for future topic meetings that you would like to see then please
pass them on.

New Biodiversity Duty on all Public Bodies

From 1 October all Public Sector bodies in England - from the police and
health authorities to local authorities and Regional Development Agencies -
will have a duty to have regard to the conservation of biodiversity when
carrying out their duties. This new duty has been placed on them by Section
40 of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006.
Defra, together with partners, are working on developing guidance to assist
those affected in fulfilling their responsibilities. There will be 2 sets of
guidance, one giving specific guidance aimed at the needs and requirements
of Local Authorities and another giving more generic guidance aimed at all of
the public bodies affected. Further details of the Duty can be downloaded
from this link.

The guidance will be published in early 2007.  It is expected that local
promotional events will be held to publicise the guidance to relevant


The Northern Rock Foundation has launched its new funding programmes
which will run for the next five years. They will £28 million to spend in 2007 on
projects that tackle disadvantage and improve quality of life in North East
England and Cumbria. Details can be found on their website at

Sue Vaughan from the Northern Rock will give a short presentation on the
new programmes for North East Biodiversity Forum members on the 4th
December (see 'Topic Meetings' above for more details).

The Community Foundation has launched its Local Action on Global Issues
grants programme. Annual grants in the region of £1K - £20k. for revenue
and capital projects will be available to projects which demonstrate how local
action contribute to tackling global problems. The grants programme currently
only covers Northumberland and Tyne and Wear. See for more details.

SITA Enriching Nature Fund is now entering its second year and has
£500,000 to spend in the North East during 2006/07. The SITA Trust website
contains update updated guidelines for applicants
_July06.doc The guidance offered on the funding of project officers has been
refined and the penultimate page of the guidance note contains a useful
breakdown of what activities SITA Trust will and will not fund. As a general
rule of thumb SITA can fund Project Officers who are overseeing site based
activity but will not fund more generalised coordination or advisory posts.
Existing project posts are eligible for funding as well as new posts. If you
want to submit a project that contains staff posts you are advised to contact
Liz Lowery at SITA Trust to discuss the latest position (telephone: 01454 262
914) The closing date for the next round of Enriching Nature applications is
29 December.

Phase 2 of the Big Lottery Fund Breathing Places grant scheme will be
launched this month as part of the BBC's Autumn Watch programme. This
time round, applications will be open to schools, town and parish councils as
well as community groups for both new and existing places. Libraries are not
eligible to apply in their own right but are keen to be involved in partnership
bids to transform spaces outside or near their buildings.

If you applied for the first round of Breathing Places grants and were turned
down due to the amount of capital you were applying for, think about re-
applying as there will be no restriction on capital amount in this phase. Grants
range from £300 to £10,000. You can find out more from the Big Lottery Fund
website – or by calling the BLF helpline on 0845 367

The British Ecological Society has a Schools Ground Development grant
which awards up to £1000 which supports initiatives to develop school
grounds as a place to teach practical ecology. Further details can be found at

The Crown Estate's Marine Stewardship Fund provides grant aid to
projects and programmes that make a significant contribution to the
environmental management of the marine estate. Practical projects,
interpretation and education can all be funded. For further details see Marine
Stewardship Fund website

There is also a new funding section on the North East Biodiversity Forum

Local Area Agreement (LAA) Seminar - 14th November

Local Area Agreements (LAAs) set out the priorities for public service delivery
in a local area and influence how central resources are pooled and spent.
Current evidence suggests that environmental concerns have a very low
profile in these documents. The Biodiversity Forum and the North East
Biodiversity Forum will be holding a joint seminar on LAAs 14th November.
The event will include speakers from Government Office and central Defra
gving an introduction to the role of LAAs and the place of environmental
issues within them. This will be followed by workshop sessions to look at how
partnerships can work to influence Local Strategic Partnerships and the
content of LAAs. If you wish to attend the event please fill in a booking form
( and return to

Training for Planners

The Biodiversity Forum will be running two training events for planners in the
first quarter of 2007: one on protected species and the planning system and
the other on achieving biodiversity gain through the planning system. Both
events will be run by Mike Oxford of the Association of Local Government
Ecologists. There will be no charge for either event. Details will follow soon.
Regional Biodiversity Group

The Regional Biodiversity Group is a small sub-set of Biodiversity Forum
members who steer the work of the Forum. The membership is intended to
represent the full range of the Forum's interests. Two free seats are being
made available, on a revolving basis, at each meeting of the Group for any
Biodiversity Forum members who wish to come along to observe or take part.
If you are interested in occupying one of these places then please let me
know. A reminder will be sent out prior to each meeting. The Agenda for
each meeting can be found on the members' section of the North East
Biodiversity Forum website.

New documents on the North East Biodiversity website

Planning Policy Statement 9 on Biodiversity and Geological Conservation

Government Circular accompanying PPS9

PPS9 Good Practice Guide

Local Sites: Guidance on their identification, selection, and management (Defra)

Bat Surveys for Development Proposals in North East England (English Nature
Northumbria Team)

Environmental Quality in Spatial Planning: Guidance in the preparation of Regional
Spatial Strategies and Local Development Frameworks

Environmental Quality in Spatial Planning: Supplementary Files

Making Contracts Work for Wildlife: How to Encourage Biodiversity in Urban
Parks (CABE)

Promoting land management in the NHS to support local biodiversity. (Government
Office South West)

Non-Statutory Grassland Site Condition Assessment Monitoring (English Nature)

Planning for Biodiversity - Opportunity Mapping and Habitat Networks in Practice: A
Technical Guide (English Nature Research Report 687)

Also the following have been added to the links page of the website:

North East Wildlife
[Natural history images online. Images are free to use but please remember
to follow the request for acknowledgements etc. contained on the homepage.]

Integrating Biodiversity into Development
[Essex Biodiversity Partnership site for planners and developers]

[Interreg funded project on using spatial planning to adapt to climate change]
Exploring Your Environment (EYE) project

The Tyne and Wear Museum Service's EYE Project now have a Project
Coordinator and a Project Officer in post. This is a 3-year project that will
collate, gather, manage and make available information about the natural
heritage of the North East. An important element of the project is to promote
understanding of, and participation in, environmental recording. Community
involvement will be promoted through training, public participation surveys and
by an interactive editing website using ‘wiki’ technology.

The Project Coordinator for the post is Naomi Hewitt, who can be contacted at

The Local BAP Coordinators within the region will be working closely with
Naomi and the EYE Project and there are plans to run a joint public
participation survey in summer next year aimed at getting the public to identify
roadside verges of botanical interest.

Regional Spatial Strategy Inspector's Report

The Inspector's Report from the Enquiry in Public (EiP) for the Regional
Spatial Strategy (RSS) has now been published. The full report can be
downloaded from

No amendments to the biodiversity policy were proposed. Two
recommendations of the report that will be of particular interest to Biodiversity
Forum members are:

      That the RSS should Incorporate a Climate Change Policy requiring
       adaptation and reduction actions within other strategies, plans and

      That policies for Green Infrastructure be included for the two Tyne and
       Wear and Tees Valley City Regions

Unfortunately the Inspector also took the opinion that the regional targets for
development of previously developed land and through reuse of existing
buildings were not ambitious enough and should be increased. This is likely
to increase the development pressure on brownfield land of biodiversity
Update On Other Regional Strategies

Name                  What is it?             Why should I care?        What's happening
Regional Economic     The RES sets out the    The RES determines        The latest version of
Strategy (RES)        economic                spending decisions        the RES was
                      development             by One NorthEast          launched at the end
                      priorities for the      and other bodies. It      of September. The
                      North East and          is therefore to the       Regional Biodiversity
                      provides a framework    advantage of the          Group made formal
                      for how these will be   biodiversity              comments on the
                      delivered. It is        community to ensure       draft of this. An
                      produced by One         that the contribution     Action Plan to deliver
                      NorthEast.              that the natural          the RES is currently
                                              environment makes         being produced. The
                                              to the region's           Regional Biodiversity
                                              economy (e.g.             Group will be
                                              through attracting        formally responding
                                              tourists and inward       to this.
                                              contributing to skills
                                              and training etc.) is
                                              properly reflected.
North East Strategy   An overarching          There is currently no     A 12-week
for the Environment   Environment             regional strategy         consultation on
(NESE)                Strategy for the        covering the              NESE is expected to
                      region. It is hoped     environment and           start at the end of
                      that the document       NESE should               October. This will be
                      will sit at an equal    address the gap and       followed by the
                      level to the RES and    raise the importance      production of an
                      the Regional Spatial    of the environment        Action Plan setting
                      Strategy. The           as an issue in the        out how NESE will be
                      document will be        North East. The           delivered. There will
                      produced by the         document will also        be consultation
                      North East              set the framework for     events and
                      Environment Forum.      environmental             workshops both for
                                              activity for the region   the NESE
                                              in coming years and       consultation and the
                                              will influence            production of the
                                              decisions on              Action Plan.
                                              spending and
                                              resource allocation.

Nick Brodin (
Regional Biodiversity Coordinator

28 September 2006

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