The draft Cork City Heritage and Biodiversity Plan (2021-2026) has been produced. Last Thursday 8th of April, our Campaigns Manager, John Armstrong, joined the Cork City Council’s Consultation meeting on the draft Heritage and Biodiversity Plan where he highlighted the importance of protecting our urban spaces.

https://www.corkcity.ie/en/council-services/news-room/latest-news/draft-cork-city-heritage-and-biodiversity-plan-2021-2026-.html

Cork Nature Network wants to share the below letter which you can use as template if you want to join us in protecting our Natural Heritage! We need as many voices as possible to ensure we are heard.

Submissions can be sent online or to Niamh Twomey Heritage Officer Planning Policy Section Strategic and Economic Development Directorate, Cork City Council, City Hall, Cork. or via email at niamh_twomey@corkcity.ie

Address and/or contact details

Date

Dear Cork City Council,

I am writing to you to respond to the public consultation for the heritage plan.

I would like to ask you to consider the following points:

  • The plan lacks focus or set goals

The plan lacks ambition to make the large changes that are needed to protect our wildlife species or habitats. I would like to see a strong objective to protect our natural world and to set goals that are measured and reported back to the public.

  • Needs more funding and personnel

The overall budget of €500,000 over the 5 year life of the plan is too small. This will equate to c25,000 pa against each of the 4 objectives. More investment is needed for the outcomes of the plan to achieve their full potential. If the council take biodiversity seriously then they must FUND it. Currently Cork City Council has 1 heritage officer to oversee both the heritage and the biodiversity aspects of the plan. This is too broad a field and too much work for one person to do. We urgently need a new team of specialised individuals to carry out the plan. The success of the plan depends on this.

  • The Heritage plan must link to national commitments.

The heritage plan must link directly and show where it links to the National Biodiversity Plan, the National climate strategy, Pollinator Plans and Cork Council Climate Strategy etc. This plan is not in isolation and must integrated into the broader national strategy.

  • Heritage and biodiversity must be separated.

Heritage and biodiversity are both large and diverse fields, It makes much more sense to separate them into two clearly defined plans. Two plans would allow more focus and a stronger sense of purpose and be more meaningful and appropriate to heritage and biodiversity as separate important concerns for the residents of Cork City. Merrging them and the objectives makes the plan difficult to focus and to follow and hence has no clear direction on each of these very important strands.

The following are a number of actions I would like to see the City Council to undertake over the lifetime of the plan:

  • Full protection (& celebration) of mature trees in the city
  • 100% of Corkonians have free and easy access to high quality biodiversity-rich green space
  • An increase in green space managed for biodiversity for the citizens of Cork to appreciate and enjoy.
  • Improve the richness, connectivity and biodiversity of Corks habitats by creating ecological connecting routes.
  • To review protection policies for wildlife spaces with view to putting in protection strategies e.g. Zoning, 
  • Improve Corks air and water quality
  • To designate neighbourhoods with their own area for ‘wilderness’ – in each of the city districts

Thank you for taking the time to read this submission

Kind regards,