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Biodiversity in West Lothian

Conserving and enhancing biodiversity throughout the area, whether rural or urban, is important for the health of our environment, wildlife and our communities.

Local Nature Reserve Photo

West Lothian is approximately 15% built-up (including roads and railways) and 85% green/blue space. Although this seems like a lot of land and water, there is pressure on habitats and species in the area, due to expanding populations, urbanisation, transport, pollution and the human demand for natural resources that these bring. Grassland currently covers the largest area of land in the county, but there is still much diversity in the landscape - from the old industrial bings to the ancient woodland of Almondell Country Park, the waterways of the Rivers Almond and Avon and the peatlands of Blawhorn, Easter Inch and Black Moss. Maintaining diversity and quality of habitats and landscape throughout the area, whether rural or urban, is important for the health of our environment, wildlife and our communities.

Ecology and Biodiversity Team

West Lothian Council has a new Ecology and Biodiversity Team to help the council locally address the global biodiversity crisis. This team is responsible for creating and delivering policy and plans relating to biodiversity and climate change, implementing biodiversity enhancement projects, facilitating community engagement and inputting into the council's planning process - ensuring that biodiversity is taken into account, from the overall Local Development Plan to individual planning applications.

The Ecology and Biodiversity team can be contacted at Ecology&Biodiversity@westlothian.gov.uk

Local Biodiversity Action Plan (LBAP)

Local Biodiversity Action Plans (LBAP's) are put together by Local Authorities, partly to ensure that global and national biodiversity policy commitments are put into practice at a local level and partly to ensure the protection and survival of locally important ecosystems. The Ecology and Biodiversity Team is currently working to revise and update the West Lothian LBAP. You can find out more on the Local Biodiversity Action Plan web page.

Scottish Biodiversity Duty

Under the Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act (2004), all public bodies in Scotland are required to further the conservation of biodiversity when carrying out their responsibilities. The Wildlife and Natural Environment (Scotland) Act (2011) requires public bodies in Scotland to publish a report, every three years, on the actions which they have taken to meet this biodiversity duty.

  • The most recent West Lothian Report on Scottish Biodiversity Duty (2018-20) can be viewed here:

 

 

There are many sites throughout West Lothian which have formal designations and are protected for their local, regional, national or international importance.
Local Biodiversity Action Plans identify the local priorities for protecting and enhancing ecosystems, habitats and species in each Local Authority area. They are comprehensive plans that all partners can work to, enabling a joined-up approach across the area.
Due to growing populations in the Central Belt, environmental pressures and threats are priority issues for the council to address.
The health of our natural surroundings has a proven effect on our own health, and diversity in our environment provides better resilience to climate change. So it's in everyone's best interests to do what we can to preserve and improve biodiversity. There are many things we can all do, from making small changes at home to how we act in the wider world