Councillor Deirdre Costigan, cabinet member for climate action visited Paradise Fields in Horsenden Hill last week (17 March) to get a first-hand look at one of the borough’s most beautiful green spaces and mark the launch of Ealing Council’s new biodiversity action plan.
Biodiversity relates to the variety of species we have in the borough – essentially all the plants, trees, flowers, insects, animals and birds present in the area. Climate crisis, modern farming and habitat loss has sadly put large swathes of our nature at serious long-term risk. This is why the council is moving to protect and enhance local biodiversity with a range of ambitious measures, from tree planting and sowing wildflower meadows, to backing pioneering rewilding projects.
Councillor Costigan explains: “Across the borough, Ealing Council is helping improve and enhance green spaces just like Paradise Fields as part of its Biodiversity Action Plan, which has been launched to help the borough’s nature flourish long into the future.
“So many people, including myself, have relied on green spaces even more than usual during the pandemic. I think it really reiterated how important these places are for local people as well as wildlife.
“We have heard this, and our action plan commits to increasing tree canopy to a quarter of the entire borough by 2030. It’s an ambitious aim, but we are starting a tree-planting programmes across our parks and streets and will be working with schools and community groups to make this target a reality.
“Our biodiversity action plan will also protect a wide range of species including bats, bees, and butterflies – many of which are in real trouble nationally.
“It will help us create and manage new wetland habitats and flood management projects, supporting other threatened creatures including water voles and amphibians.
“We are also going to significantly increase the number of grassland areas and wildflower meadows, which are of course vital building blocks for biodiversity as they support pollinators.
“Our strategy recognises that everything, from parks and gardens, to allotments and trees on the street to even the smallest of window box as vital to a wider ecological network. But we cannot make the difference alone, so we are creating an Ealing Biodiversity Partnership which will harness the skills, knowledge and enthusiasm from the numerous volunteer groups that already do so much for local nature.
“Our biodiversity is worth fighting for and we will do everything we can to green our borough, protect our wildlife and support our communities to do their bit.”
The council’s biodiversity action plan is available to read online.
Beavers coming back to Ealing
Ealing Council is partnering with the Ealing Wildlife Group, Friends of Horsenden Hill and Citizen Zoo on a pioneering project to bring beavers back to the borough. Extinct in the UK for hundreds of years, beavers are now making a comeback thanks to a number of reintroduction programmes across the country. Now Ealing is set to become one of the first boroughs in London to reintroduce the charismatic, dam-building rodent, which acts as a keystone species, enhancing and enriching its habitat and benefiting flora and fauna around it.
Ealing’s reintroduction programme will see the beavers living in a large enclosure – significantly more spacious than some other schemes. The location at Paradise Fields is particularly exciting as it is a genuinely urban area within London compared to similar programmes in the capital.
Find out more about the project at the Ealing Wildlife Group website or watch Councillor Costigan discussing the project below.
Local people are being encouraged to have their say on Ealing’s reintroduction programme through an online consultation, which is now open.