How will the county benefit from the Wilder Derbyshire campaign?
PUBLISHED: 00:00 08 July 2019 | UPDATED: 09:38 08 July 2019
Terry Whittaker/2020 VISION
Tim Birch, Head of Living Landscapes North Derbyshire explains what he wants to see as part of a Wilder Derbyshire
Nature is in trouble and the climate is changing. Research shows that the natural world is declining in the UK. Insect populations are crashing here as well as around the world, and still more people are becoming disconnected from nature. Children are spending time on their phones and playing computer games instead of getting outside and enjoying the fresh air and wildlife around them. Wildlife habitats are becoming more fragmented. Once common species such as the hedgehog, house sparrow, starling, butterfly and wildflower species are disappearing year on year. We also know that a healthy environment rich in wildlife is good for us all, it improves our mental and physical health, and we are all better, fitter and happier when we get out into nature.
We need to give nature the space it needs to survive and thrive. That means allowing significant areas across Derbyshire where nature can develop. We need to see more trees and woodlands across our county, as well as allowing our rivers to reconnect to their floodplains. Imagine seeing once common species return to their old haunts. Red squirrels, salmon, osprey, pine marten, beaver and hen harriers all used to call Derbyshire their home. They need to be allowed to return and will sometimes need a helping hand.
Let's see our landscapes become wilder and less heavily managed - this will be great news for wildlife. More nature friendly farming will mean that more wildlife will return to our farmed landscapes. We need Derbyshire to become more insect friendly. The collapse in insect numbers can be reversed if we make our roadside verges, parks, gardens and green spaces havens for bees, ladybirds, butterflies and grasshoppers.
The UK is at a crossroads and we need to make sure we make the right decisions to make our beautiful countryside, and county of Derbyshire, more wildlife friendly. We need new laws to protect the wild spaces we have left and enable nature to recover. The Government's new Environment Act should have clear targets and a Nature Recovery Network at its heart.
Derbyshire Wildlife Trust wants to see the natural world return in all its glory across Derbyshire. We want more people to get outside and connect with nature so that ultimately more people will be supporting nature's recovery and everyone will have the opportunity to picnic in the sunshine amongst wild flowers and listen to birds singing.
We are ambitious and enthusiastic about working with our supporters, volunteers, partners and community across Derbyshire to bring nature back into all our lives. In the near future we want to see a wilder Peak District National Park in the north of the county where everyone should get the chance to see hen harriers, ospreys and pine martens in the future. We want to see at least 30 per cent of Derbyshire dedicated to the recovery of nature, and to see native woodland restoration across at least 20 per cent of the county, providing vital habitat for wildlife and wonderful places for people to enjoy and explore. It is vital that all the Local Wildlife Sites that are currently designated in Derbyshire are fully protected - at the moment these 1,179 sites are not. Our flower-rich meadows and grasslands need to be significantly expanded across the country. At the moment these habitats are in steep decline.
We know the problems. We have the solutions. Nature can recover and bounce back. We just need to make this happen and now is the time.