An Ecological Emergency has been declared by South Oxfordshire District Council (SODC) to show a commitment to protect and restore the natural world.

The council agreed to declare the Ecological Emergency following a motion that was passed at the Council meeting on 11 February. It builds on the council’s declaration of a Climate Emergency in 2019, which was followed by a pledge to become a carbon neutral council by 2025 and a carbon neutral district by 2030.

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The motion, which was proposed by councillor Sam Casey-Rerhaye, he said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the relationship between people and nature. When we destroy and degrade habitats, we increase the risk of disease spill-over from wildlife to people.”

It also calls for the council to incorporate the climate and ecological emergencies and nature recovery as strategic priorities in planning policies.

The council will also look into establishing a Biodiversity Steering Group and to embed climate action and ecological initiatives within all council work areas, including COVID-19 recovery projects and programmes.

The declaration of an ‘Ecological Emergency’ come after The State of Nature 2019 report highlighted the critical decline in biodiversity in the UK. Statistics show that 15 per cent of UK species are classified as threatened with extinction and 2 per cent are already extinct.

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