Public authorities have a key role to play in the conservation of biodiversity. Because the Duty is relevant to a wide variety of public authority functions and services, the guidance aims to help all staff to have regard to biodiversity in undertaking their work, and to inform senior executives about the opportunities to take account of biodiversity at corporate level.
The guidance draws on a wide range of information sources that provide advice on different activities and functions of public sector organisations. The guidance is intended to assist public authorities in meeting the Biodiversity Duty but it does not provide a definitive interpretation of legislation or provide exhaustive recommendations for conserving biodiversity. It has been produced in consultation with representatives of a wide variety of public authorities, through a series of workshops in England and Wales in autumn 2006.
The Guidance is presented in six main sections:
- Section 1 introduces the Biodiversity Duty, defining the term biodiversity, summarising the benefits of biodiversity conservation, and explaining why having regard to biodiversity is important for all public authorities.
- Sections 2-5 provide guidance on key aspects of public authorities’ functions and activities which relate to biodiversity. They focus on four main themes:
Policy, Strategy and Procurement;
Management of Public Land and Buildings;
Planning, Infrastructure and Development;
Education, Advice and Awareness.
- Section 6 examines the implications for public authorities of implementing the Duty, considering implications for financial resources, skills and training, and measuring progress.