To undertake a biodiversity audit of landholdings and areas managed by Cambridge City Council, including County Wildlife Sites, City Wildlife Sites, Local Nature Reserves, Sites of Special Scientific Interest as well as recreational spaces. The audit was to include both a survey of habitats within these landholdings and an assessment of their ecological condition.
What did we do?
The project covered a total of approximately 210ha over 33 sites. Sites were surveyed in the summer of 2020 and habitats at each location were mapped using the UK Habitat Classification methodology. Each habitat parcel was assigned a condition (poor, moderate or good) following the methodology set out within the Natural England Biodiversity Metric 2.0. At each site the opportunities for enhancements were assessed, as were the risks of possible constraints. Management plans, where present, were reviewed and, with a combination of local knowledge and liaison with stakeholders, a direction of travel was established for habitat conditions.
Priority habitats included wet woodland, lowland calcareous grassland, reedbeds and wood pasture.
Our work can be viewed here.
What was the outcome for the client?
The Biodiversity Audit formed part of the evidence base for a new Biodiversity Strategy for the City. The MKA team have subsequently worked closely with the Cambridge City Ecologist in drafting this strategy. The strategy is the city’s response to the Biodiversity Emergency declaration by Cambridge City Council.
Our work for Cambridge City Council provides a biodiversity baseline for the city. This will enable to council to measure change over time, as well as the effectiveness of their interventions in promoting biodiversity. As part of the Biodiversity Audit we also provided case studies for certain locations to show how measurable change in biodiversity can be achieved as part of proposed project work. This enabled the Council to communicate their proposals in a tangible way that could be easily understood by consultees.
Following the publication of our Biodiversity Audit for Cambridge City Council MKA has been able to use the baseline data to help the council proceed with several projects in the City and to clearly demonstrate the potential positive outcomes to a wide range of consultees. The data has also enabled insight into the drivers of poor condition in some habitats, for example recreation pressures. This will help the council to target appropriate measures, such as education and information, in the most relevant locations to improve the condition of the habitats and ultimately the biodiversity resource in the City.