Brown Hedgehog

Proposed Declaration of Ecological Emergency and HIF bid rejection

The Full council meeting this Wednesday 16th June is an important one for me as it contains two Councillor motions that I strongly support…

  1. To declare an Ecological Emergency – a carefully thought out motion that includes specific measurable actions to protect and enhance biodiversity in Chippenham
  2. To write to the Secretary of State and Homes England confirming rejection of the HIF bid for the Distributor road and associated 7500 houses.

It also reports on the Town Council request to Wiltshire council to expand the Neighbourhood Plan boundary to the new Chippenham Parish boundaries. We are also trying to designate land to the North of Hardens mead as Local Green Space in the Neighbourhood Plan.

You can read the full meeting agenda on the Town Council website here..

To consider the following motion from Councillors Myla Watts, Nick Murry and
Declan Baseley:
Climate change is the major driver of ecological stress and the extinction of
species. Moreover, the pace of change is having a significant adverse impact on
the ecosystems and biodiversity that we depend on for the ecosystems services
that underpin our economy and society. In addition to this, over-exploitation of
the earth’s resources and destruction of irreplaceable habitats, are adding further
pressure on nature. The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel for Biodiversity and
Ecosystem Services (IPBES) 2019 report i found that: “Nature is declining globally at
rates unprecedented in human history – and the rate of species extinctions is
accelerating, with grave impacts on people around the world now likely.” This
means that in addition to doubling our efforts to prevent dangerous climate
change, we need to also address the other root causes of the Ecological Emergency
we are also now facing.
Council notes:
1) Our society and economy are intimately linked with, and entirely depend
on, nature and biodiversity. The natural world is essential in the provision of
food for our populations, clean water, fresh air, medicines, energy and raw
materials, as well as protection from increasingly extreme weather patterns
brought on by climate breakdown.
2) The Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services
(IPBES) has found that species extinction rates are tens to hundreds of times
higher than historical averages, meaning that around one million animal and
plant species are threatened with extinction, many within decades. This is
more than at any time in human history.

3) The National Biodiversity Network’s State of Nature report 2019ii highlights
the critical decline in UK biodiversity. Farming has had the biggest impact in
recent decades, with the effects of climate change, urbanisation, pollution,
woodland and freshwater management, fisheries and established invasive
species increasingly taking their toll. 15% of UK species are classified as
threatened with extinction, with 133 species already extinct.
4) The World Wildlife Fund’s 2020 Global Living Planet Indexiii shows an
average 68% fall in the populations of mammals, birds, amphibians, reptiles
and fish between 1970 and 2016, as a result of overuse of natural resources.
5) The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the relationship between people
and nature, demonstrating that when we destroy and degrade habitats, we
increase the risk of disease transfer from wildlife to humans, increasing the
risk of future pandemicsiv.
6) The Government’s Environment Billv will require the introduction of a Local
Nature Recovery Strategy and Nature Recovery Networks and Local
Authorities will need to play their part.
7) Chippenham’s wildlife, habitats and ecosystems are vitally important to us
and future generations, enhancing our lives from the insects that pollinate
our food crops to our residents’ health and wellbeing.
8) Other Town and County Councils that have already declared an Ecological
Emergency include: Bradford-on-Avon, Bath & North East Somerset, South
Somerset & Sutton, Somerset West & Taunton, Bristol, Cotswold, Forest of
Dean, Mendip, Brighton & Hove, Christchurch & Poole, Bournemouth and

Council therefore resolves to:
A.B.C.Declare an Ecological Emergency to supplement our existing Climate
Emergency Declaration, recognising that climate change is a key driver of
ecological decline, and that natural systems play an essential role in
combatting and building resilience to climate change.
Request that officers report back to the Full Council meeting on the 22nd
September 2021, regarding potential budget implications of taking the actions,
detailed below (C – E) ahead of the budget setting process for 2022/2023.
To achieve the following objectives within the shortest possible timeframe:
i.ii.Take measures to protect the green spaces that the Council currently
owns, and any adopted in future, against physical development,
destruction or degradation, as well as creating additional green space
when the opportunity arises;
Enhance biodiversity on the Council’s own estate through introduction of
trees, hedges, shrubs and wildflower meadows, biodiversity friendly
mowing and ecological enhancements such as bird boxes and bat boxes;
iii. Promote habitat creation and restoration, so as to benefit biodiversity,
whilst also helping to store carbon and build natural resilience against the
impacts oPage 3 of 4
f climate change;
iv. Aim for 19% woodland cover on the Council’s own land, in line with the
Woodland Trust’s targetvi and as recommended by the Committee on
Climate Changevii, seeking to plant the right species in the right places and
optimise carbon sequestration, natural flood management, habitat
creation and public amenity benefits;
v. Identify additional suitable land for community projects such as
allotments, community gardens, community orchards, tree nurseries and
for renewable energy projects;
vi. Cease use of insecticides, fungicides and harmful herbicidesviii (including
glyphosate) on the Council’s estate, and where possible in contracts with
Wiltshire Council or other third parties;
vii. Cease use of single-use plasticsix on Council premises and throughout its
viii. Cease generating waste that will be sent to landfill or incineration, by
procuring reusable, recyclable and naturally biodegradable products and
ix. Avoid the procurement and consumption of products or services that
damage wildlife habitats locally or in other parts of the world;
x. Ensure addressing the Climate and Ecological emergencies are strategic
priorities for the Council’s Corporate Strategic Plan and Chippenham’s
Neighbourhood Plan policies and design guides, including identifying
suitable locations for habitat restoration and biodiversity gain;
xi. Work with the Environment Agency, Wessex Water, Wiltshire Council and
other relevant authorities to substantially improve water quality in the
River Avon and its tributaries within the parish;
xii. Work with other town and parish councils, local environment and
community groups, schools and local residents to protect and enhance
natural capital and local wildlife habitats within the parish;
xiii. Undertake awareness raising campaigns for local residents and businesses
and provide advice and support on taking positive action to protect and
enhance habitats in their neighbourhoods and properties;
xiv. Consider ecological implications of all Council decisions and investments
(including CIL funded) in advance, alongside those for climate change.
D.E.Prepare a monitoring framework and report annually on progress against the
above objectives and targets.
Incorporate the Ecological Emergency into the Climate Emergency Advisory
Group’s remit and rename the group the ‘Climate and Ecological Emergency
Advisory Group’.

Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES): Global Assessment
Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services
National Biodiversity Network (2019): State of Nature report 2019
WWF (2020): Living Planet Report 2020
Johnson C (2020): “Why do viruses jump from animals to humans? Clues to the COVID-19 pandemic”
DEFRA (2020): Policy Paper: Environment Bill 2020
Woodland Trust (2020): Emergency Tree Plan for the UK (January, 2020)
Climate Change Committee (2019): Net Zero – the UK’s contribution to stopping Global Warming, May, 2019

Net Zero – The UK’s contribution to stopping global warming

Garden Organic: Latest Survey on Pesticide Use in Public Amenities
European Commission: Environment: Single-use plastics

I fully back the declaration of an Ecological emergency.

Two years ago I came and spoke to the Amenities Culture and Leisure Committee as a member of the public together with my son who was then aged 13.

The Global assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services had been published earlier that year and the results were truly shocking.

Human actions threaten more species with global extinction now than ever before.

An average of around 25 % of species assessed in animal and plant groups are threatened, suggesting that around 1 million species already face extinction, many within decades, unless action is taken to reduce the intensity of drivers of biodiversity loss”

The UK is now one of the most nature depleted countries in the world 29th worst out of 218 countries analysed.”

Green space is threatened all around us in Chippenham. Land is being offered to joint developers by Wiltshire council with apparent little thought to their declared Climate emergency.

Yet the two are intrinsically linked.

This week Roger Harrabin the BBC Energy & Environment analysts said

“Siloed scientists have been far too slow in bringing together issues of biodiversity and climate. And, mea culpa, so have journalists feeling the need to focus on one story line at a time”

But Climate change and biodiversity are an intertwined story and part of a complex earth system.

I believe the motion brings clear realistic and achievable actions to the council and demonstrates leadership. It will underline and bring greater ambition to actions already being taken by the council in conjunction with the wild life trust and the new tree planting policy.

This is the reason I was elected as a councilor…

As Jonas Salk pioneer of one of the first polio vaccines said – The most important question we must ask ourselves is, Are we being good ancestors?’

This motion follows up on the Town Council’s Unanimous Rejection of the HIF bid for a distributor road and 7500 houses by writing to Wiltshire Council, Homes England, the Secretary of State for Housing, and Chippenham’s MP.

To consider the following motion from Councillors Gemma Grimes, Nick Murry and
Angie Litvak-Watson:
At an Extraordinary Council meeting on 4th March 2021, Chippenham Town Council rejected all the road route options presented in Wiltshire Council’s Future Chippenham consultation. This followed a unanimous rejection of the Local Plan Review proposals at the Planning Environment and Transport Committee of 18 February 2021 and again at an Extraordinary meeting of Full Council on 25th  February 2021. Following Local elections on 6th May, the newly constituted Town Council was also unanimous in reaffirming opposition to the distributor road and associated 7,500 houses at its first meeting (the Annual Council meeting) on 19th May 2021.
Since local support is a key criterion for Housing Infrastructure Funding (HIF funding) to proceed, it is essential that Chippenham Town Council communicates its position to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government  MHCLG) and Homes England.
This Council therefore resolves:

1. That the Chief Executive Officer submit a letter to Wiltshire Council’s Chief
Executive, copied to Homes England, the Secretary of State for Housing,
Communities and Local Government and the MP for the Chippenham
constituency, communicating the Town Council’s position and responses to
the consultations summarised above, stating that:
“With regards to the application to MHCLG for a grant from its Housing
Infrastructure Fund (HIF) for monies to enable part funding of a new road to the
eastern and southern boundaries of Chippenham:
• Chippenham Town Council wholly opposes the construction of such a road
and the use of HIF funding for highway infrastructure, to the east and south
of Chippenham;

Chippenham Town Council disagrees with the proposals for 7,500 houses in
the Avon and Marden Valley area defined by the proposed road routes that
would be part funded by the HIF;
Chippenham Town Council requests that the £75m funding for this road is
withdrawn on the basis that there is overwhelming opposition from
residents and local town/ parish councils, including Chippenham and Calne,
for this carbon intensive and environmentally damaging scheme.
Details of the Town Council resolutions on this matter can be found at:

Meeting of the Planning, Environment and Transport Committee, 18th February
Extraordinary meeting of Full Council on 25th February 2021: Draft-Minutes-
Extraordinary-Full-Council-250221.pdf ( and archive/page/2
Extraordinary Council meeting on 4th March 2021: content/uploads/2021/03/Draft-Minutes-
Extraordinary-Full-Council-040321.pdf and
presented-by- wiltshire-council-for-future-chippenham-consultation
Annual Council meeting) on 19th May 2021:
content/uploads/2021/06/Draft-Minutes-Full-Council-190521-1.pdf ”

That a press release is issued by Chippenham Town Council to update
members of the public of this decision and a copy of the letter posted on the
Town Council website.

I fully support the motion to write to Homes England and the Secretary of State for Housing confirming Chippenham Town Council’s rejection of the HIF bid and corresponding 7500 houses.

It is clear from Wiltshire Council’s search for a Joint Developer published in February that Wiltshire Council are willing to offer any of the land they (ie we the people of Chippenham) own in Chippenham to the highest bidder. They are even willing to offer land outside of Chippenham as an incentive…

My opposition to this development based on Climate change and Ecological destruction is one of the main reasons I stood for election!

Wiltshire already looking for a joint development partner Feb 2021

Council owned sites that are proposed for inclusion within the JV


The following council owned sites could be made available to JV ;

a. Land lying to the south of Cocklebury lane, Chippenham

b. Land at Hither Farm, Stanley Lane, Stanley, Chippenham

c. Land on the Eastern side of the River Avon and lying to the South of Lower Lodge Farm, Chippenham

d. Hither Farm, Stanley Lane, Chippenham

e. Hardens Farm, Chippenham (SN15 3RB) f. Land at Forest Gate Farm, Chippenham

g. Middle Lodge Farm, Pewsham

13.The above list is not exhaustive and could be supplemented by other land holdings within the Future Chippenham area subject to on-going negotiations.

14.To make best use of the JV procurement, consideration will also be given to the inclusion of other council-owned sites elsewhere in the County as part of this procurement process, and this will be subject to further reporting to Cabinet if this avenue is pursued.

How to Take part?

If you want to ask a question or make a statement on any of the items at the council meeting or what ever is on your mind that the council may be able to help with you need to to send your public question to by 12pm Tuesday 15th June and confirm whether they will be in physical attendance or require an officer to read out the question on their behalf. Priority of physical attendance at a Council meeting is given to the press and those who have sent their public question in advance and will read it out, remaining seats will be allocated on a first come first served basis.