At the Council meeting on 11 October, a motion by Cllr Claire Malcolmson (Liberal Democrat) and seconded by Cllr Patricia Wiltshire (Ashtead Independent) was debated and declared.

This declaration complements the Climate Emergency agreed in 2019, and will establish a Member Ecology Steering Group to propose targets for improvement, and require ecological impact implications to be included alongside those for climate change in appropriate council and committee papers.

The declaration will aim to ensure nature recovery is seen as a strategic priority and prepare proposals for consideration for inclusion in the Council’s Annual Plan for 2023-24.

Your Independent Councillors hope that this will lead to an increased commitment by the Council to address the deteriorating condition of the nature reserves and sites of nature conservation importance it owns, not least Ashtead Park.

We also welcome the increased attention being accorded to biodiversity issues in the new Local Plan now undergoing the last stages of inspection.