Biodiversity means, "the total variety of all living things". It is "our living bank balance".
Biodiversity is the life support system for our planet and serves us in many ways, providing:
- Food, medicines and other materials.
- A clean and healthy environment.
- Colour and beauty to our surroundings.
- Spiritual uplift and restorative therapy.
- An important part of our arts, cultures and traditions.
Biodiversity is a measure of sustainable development, helping us to gauge how we meet our needs today without impacting on the quality of life for our children and the needs of future generations.
The Biodiversity Duty - What Does it Mean?
The Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act 2004 places a duty on all public bodies, including Orkney Islands Council, to further the conservation of biodiversity in the course of carrying out their responsibilities. This is commonly known as the ‘Biodiversity Duty’. In complying with the Biodiversity Duty public bodies must have regard to the Scottish Biodiversity Strategy.
The Wildlife and Natural Environment (Scotland) Act 2001 places a further obligation on public bodies to provide a publicly available report, every three years, on the actions undertaken to comply with the biodiversity duty.
Local authorities are well placed to deliver biodiversity conservation; as land managers and planning authorities they can have a significant positive impact on biodiversity protection, as well as identifying opportunities for enhancement. Across a range of functions there are also opportunities for education, community engagement, sustainable resource management, projects and initiatives which can deliver significant benefits for biodiversity.
Biodiversity Duty Reports produced by Orkney Islands Council may be accessed from the 'Related Downloads' section of this page.
The Scottish Biodiversity Strategy
In 2004 the Scottish Executive published its strategy for the conservation and enhancement of biodiversity in Scotland, “Scotland’s Biodiversity – It’s In Your Hands”. Nine years later, during 2013, the Scottish Government published ‘2020 Challenge for Scotland’s Biodiversity’, as a supplement to the main 2004 Strategy. Together these two documents make up the Scottish Biodiversity Strategy.
The Scottish Biodiversity Strategy and further information relating to Biodiversity and the Biodiversity Duty are available on the Biodiversity Scotland website, available from the 'Related Sites' section of this web page.