Association of Local Government Ecologists
Local Government and Nature Conservation

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Ecology in Local Government

Data Collection and Use

It is fundamental that local authorities ensure that development plans, nature conservation strategies and biodiversity action plans are based on the best information possible. Applying the concepts of sustainable development and biodiversity demands that today's local authority nature conservation programmes are objective. Identifying biological thresholds, and setting targets and indicators, are essential to ensure that biodiversity objectives are met.

Local authorities are principle holders of biological information. Progressive authorities have established 'biological record centres' to service themselves, other organisations and the public.

Good data on habitats and species is essential if nature conservation is to be adequately considered in forward planning and development control. Indeed, Planning Policy Guidance Note 9 sets out an obligation for "local authorities to keep themselves informed of the state of the natural environment locally". Data is also fundamental to prioritise activities and to develop projects.

It is important for all local authorities to audit and evaluate the entire conservation resource within their areas. As well as comprehensive land-use surveys, details on specific sites are essential. These site-specific databases can be linked to a Geographical Information System to provide a powerful analytical tool.


Document Date: 1996
Last Updated: 31/12/1996

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