Our parks are home to a number of important plants and animals including bats, house sparrows and Britain’s rarest native tree, the black poplar. All of these species are recognised and work is being done across London to help protect them.
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Biodiversity encompasses the whole variety of life on earth. It includes all species, their genetic variation and the ecosystems of which they are part.
In an urban area such as Hackney, biodiversity plays a vital role in cleaning our air, reducing the effect of hot temperatures in summer and helping to control water run-off, reducing flooding. These benefits to people are called ecosystem services. It has also been shown that contact with the natural environment can improve people’s wellbeing and reduce stress.
Twenty-four sites in Hackney, including many of our parks, have been designated as sites of importance for nature conservation. Green space and gardens account for 795 hectares of land in Hackney; around 42% of the total land area of the borough.
You can also find wildlife in the built and urban environment. Buildings and structures can provide homes for a range of creatures, including bats, birds and plants.
Biodiversity in estates, gardens and meadows
About 18% of the open space in Hackney is made up of domestic gardens and green spaces in and around housing areas. These areas help to provide a network of green infrastructure throughout the borough.
Bees and beekeeping
There are a number of beehives in Hackney including at Community Tree Nursery and Forest Garden on Hackney Marshes, Hackney City Farm and St Mary’s Secret Garden.
There are a number of simple steps you can take to help biodiversity in your local area:
- get involved with the Hackney Biodiversity Partnership or join one of its component groups
- help us record the wildlife you see in Hackney
- make your own garden or local green space more wildlife friendly – see our guide to biodiversity management in Hackney
A number of advice notes have been produced to provide information about managing green spaces for wildlife and following best practice in planning, development and project management.
Advice for site managers and community groups
Hackney Biodiversity Partnership provide advice on how to create and manage areas for wildlife. For information on meadow creation, hedgerows, planting schemes, bird boxes and much more see biodiversity management in Hackney
For information on attaching bird and bat boxes to trees and choosing suitable locations, see bird and bat box siting
Advice for planners and developments
Information regarding the planning system in Hackney is available in planning policies. For information about biodiversity measures that can be incorporated into new developments or regeneration projects, and general principles on the features we expect to see in development applications, see the Hackney advice note: biodiversity and the built environment
For detailed guidance on our requirements for biodiversity surveys and assessments needed for the validation of planning applications, see Hackney advice note – biodiversity validation and biodiversity assessments Information about planning validation checklists is available at documents, forms and guides.
Advice for Hackney project managers
To ensure our projects follow best practice guidelines we’ve produced a checklist, including information about the sorts of projects that need species or habitat surveys, and providing sources for further advice.
Biodiversity funding opportunities
There are a number of grant bodies which are keen to fund user groups and community organisations that are working on wildlife or green space projects. To find out more see parks and green spaces.
Types of funding
Money is sometimes available for groups working on projects to improve their local environment or create areas for nature.
- Funding Central is a national database of over 4,000 grants and loans
- Awards for All is a lottery grants scheme funding small, local community-based projects in the UK
- Hackney Council for Voluntary Services is Hackney’s leading voluntary and community sector support agency, providing hundreds of local voluntary and community sector organisations with the skills, knowledge and resources to respond to the needs of local people, especially those most in need
The Hackney biodiversity action plan 2012-17 (BAP) is a partnership document that outlines the priorities for biodiversity in Hackney and sets out a programme of action to improve biodiversity across the borough.
The BAP was produced by the Hackney Biodiversity Partnership. The partnership is a group of organisations and individuals with an interest in Hackney’s wildlife. They work closely with the Council to outline how the public, private and voluntary sectors will work together to deliver tangible results for biodiversity. The focus and content of the BAP has been determined through consultation with stakeholders and data provided by Greenspace information for Greater London (GiGL). As a result the Hackney BAP will focus on the following areas:
- built environment (new developments, regeneration schemes, public realm)
- homes and housing (social housing estates, private gardens)
- parks and green spaces
- school grounds
- wetlands and waterways
Hackney biodiversity partnership is a group of local people who meet to discuss improvements to biodiversity in Hackney.
If you’d like to hear about the latest meeting dates, please sign up to our mailing list.