First biodiversity report published by Angus Council

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Angus Council has published its first formal Biodiversity Report, outlining the work it’s carried out to support wildlife and the local environment during the last three years.

The Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act 2004 places a duty on all public bodies to ‘further the conservation of biodiversity’ (also known as ‘Biodiversity Duty’) in the course of carrying out their responsibilities. The report highlights the council’s commitment over the last three years in delivering on this duty.

A council spokesperson said: “In Angus we are lucky to have one of the most biologically rich areas in the country – from the golden eagle in the uplands, the red squirrels in our woodlands, to the farmland barn owls and seabirds and small blue butterflies on the coast. Today’s report highlights the council’s responsibilities to conserve this biodiversity.

“The council works with partner agencies including community planning partners and nature conservation bodies to conserve this special natural heritage. Such partnerships are vital and working together we are developing the best ways to do this - and at the same time, contributing to other policies and initiatives.

“However it is not all about actions and targets – by involving the local communities and council officers in many of these projects, this has helped to raise awareness of a range of biodiversity issues across the county and enabled many people to call a project their own. This in itself creates a ripple effect of more work being achieved and many more of our important Angus species and habitats being safeguarded.”

A key project featured in the report is managed by Friends of Angus Herpetofauna, a group of local volunteers and enthusiasts have worked with the Angus Council roads team on pioneering work, the first British Amphibian Ladder trials in the UK and they are now installed in three locations across the county including the Angus Council campus at Orchardbank campus, Forfar. Migrating amphibians frequently fall into gulley pots and remain entrapped, unable to escape and recent trials of the ladders show that they can provide escape for 73% of trapped amphibians.

Friends of Angus Herpetofauna are also launching their ‘Amphibians in drains project 2014’ report. The report highlights how they are keen to identify amphibian migration crossing points and set up Toad Patrols, which involves the recruitment of volunteers to collect amphibians with torches and buckets to help them across busy roads where they might otherwise be killed by passing road traffic. Angus Environmental Trust funded wildlife kerbs at a key toad and frog crossing point at Monikie Country Park. During the migration period in March, 60 local volunteers over 14 nights took part and more than 1300 amphibians were rescued from the road.

It is hoped that in the future that an Amphibian Priority Zone mapping project will be possible for inclusion in the future Local Biodiversity Action Plan. A second edition will be published later this year which will guide local projects for the period 2015 to 2025.