Environment – Role, Function and Future

Our life support system, the environment, is our air, water, earth and all the ways in which they inter-act with each other.

Biodiversity is a collective term for the number of different species of plants, animals, fungi, insects, fish and whatever lives on this Earth.

The Natural Capital Committee (NCC) state that biodiversity is the foundation for maintaining effectively functioning systems of our environment.

The NCC also state that biodiversity is particularly important in tackling our challenges brought about by climate change because it underpins the maintenance of environmental systems which, if working properly, provide a whole range of benefits or ‘ecosystem services’ which lead to building resilience against impacts of climate change.

The NCC state ‘A natural capital approach should be embedded at the heart of all government decision making. This means natural capital MUST BE INTEGRATED FULLY INTO LOCAL PLANNING, infrastructure decisions and efforts to achieve net zero.’

Our environment impacts our physical and mental health and wellbeing.

Chidswell and Heybeck provide:

-open green space and countryside, in quiet cleaner air for recreation, relaxation and wellbeing, with networks of footpaths. The benefits of green recreation are well researched, with ‘being in nature’ being prescribed by GPs.

-flood storage and protection

-urban cooling

-air cleaning

-water filtration

-habitats for wildlife

Dum Wood Edge, looking North East, March 2021

Chidswell and Heybeck has a mosaic, a whole mix, of different habitats all inter-reacting with each other. The two rare and precious ancient woodlands of Dum Wood and Dogloitch Wood. Hedgerows. Water courses. Wet woodland. Woodland edge. Scrub. Fields. It has multiple Priority 1 habitats which need to be protected. The two ancient woodlands, trees and hedges have Tree Preservation Orders on them. Plus, all the wonderful animals that these support and which, in turn, maintain the habitats. The different animals on the site rely on this mixture of habitats for their survival. Chidswell and Heybeck provide a home for a wide range of many species including those that are red listed or endangered.

Chidswell and Heybeck form part of the Kirklees Wildlife Habitat Network which means they are of at least district wide importance.

A refuge for animals and for ourselves.

The Environmental Impact Assessment produced on behalf of the Church Commissioners states in its findings:

‘With a development site of this scale, some impacts remain significant, and are very hard to mitigate, especially in the case of disturbance from factors such as noise, lighting and increases human presence. ‘

Heybeck and Chidswell is an unique and rare, precious place which the Church Commissioners’ own report admits ‘impacts will remain significant’.

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