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What is biodiversity?

Biodiversity is the term used to describe the immense variety of life on Earth in all its forms – including animals, insects, plants, bacteria and fungi.
Strong biodiversity is vital because we need a wide variety of plants, animals and habitats to keep our world healthy. For example, loss of forestland reduces the world’s ability to remove carbon from the atmosphere. Carbon is a major cause of climate change.

There are some excellent websites that explain what biodiversity is and why it is vital to our planet.

Biodiversity in Hart

Hart is rich in different habitats and species. We have a mosaic of farmland, ancient woodlands, lowland heathland and water courses.
Even our towns are biodiverse. Urban trees and green spaces not only look lovely, they also help maintain biodiversity and reduce the impact of climate change.

Hart has some important natural sites. There are three types:

  1. Internationally important sites

Our areas of heathland are part of the Thames Basin Heaths Special Protection Area. They are home to breeding populations of woodlark, Dartford warbler and nightjar. 

  1. Nationally important sites

We have 16 Sites of Special Scientific Interest, which make up about 12.5% of the district.

  1. Locally Important sites

We have several Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation and Local Wildlife Sites. They have been designated because they help maintain the natural habitat in Hart and benefit plants, animals and people.

You can view an interactive map on our website which shows the location of natural sites in Hart.

What is Hart District Council doing about biodiversity?

Our Corporate Plan commits us to protecting and enhancing biodiversity in Hart. We do this by managing our natural sites and keeping a careful eye on the potential impact of proposed developments. We work with local groups on projects that enhance our natural sites.
We launched our first Biodiversity Action Plan in 2012 and have since published updates. 
The plan commits us to:

  • continue to protect habitats and species and enhance existing areas for wildlife
  • effectively manage and monitor nature conservation sites
  • create new habitats through planning policy 
  • continue raising awareness of biodiversity within the community
  • raise awareness of biodiversity among council staff and members
  • make biodiversity a key consideration in council decision-making
  • monitor and review local biodiversity and our Biodiversity Action Plan

View the full biodiversity action plan

In 2022, we agreed to pursue a Biodiversity and Carbon Offsetting Strategy. This will improve biodiversity in the district and move us towards being a more sustainable council, in line with the Council Vision 2040. 

Biodiversity in action 

Since 2018, we have made some significant improvements to biodiversity in Hart, including:

  • planting wildflower verges and roundabouts across the district
  • working to improve Fleet Pond, including habitat creation and scrub clearance
  • creating wetlands at Bramshott and Edenbrook country parks to provide additional habitats for waterfowl, dragon flies, newts and other species

Get involved

We run volunteer days throughout the year where you can get involved in our parks and protected sites.
To find out more, please visit Volunteering | Hart District Council

At your home

Consider how you could contribute to Hart biodiversity at home. Here are some examples:

  • let the grass grow
  • build an insect hotel
  • start composting your food waste
  • use less chemicals in your garden
  • plant a tree in your garden
  • create a mini amphibian habitat
  • cut hedgehog holes in your fences

For more ideas, we recommend visiting:
The National Trust
The Eco Hub
Kew Gardens 
Earth First