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The urban and semi-urban built environment has a huge detrimental impact on nature and ecological infrastructure through habitat loss, fragmentation and degradation of habitats. 40% of Britain’s biodiversity have declined since 1970’s. We are in the bottom 10% globally and one of the most biodiversity depleted countries on the planet which stems back to the Industrial Revolution. It’s no longer a case of just reducing carbon emissions. We must reverse the impact the built environment has had on the natural world.
To put the decline of nature into context;
Hedgehogs are suffering from a steep population decline - the number of hedgehogs has halved since 2000, according to a report in 2019, with rough estimates suggesting the population decreased 97% since the 1950s.
Another instance are wetlands and low-land ponds, which, according to the State of Nature Report 2019, have seen a 90% decline. Additionally, 86% of rivers in the UK do not meet ‘good’ ecological status.
The English Government have passed the Environmental Bill into law, allowing the country to enshrine better environmental protection and implement Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) regulations. BNG is an approach to development which means that habitats for wildlife must be left in a measurably better state than before the development.
All those involved in the built environment have a collective responsibility to tackle the climate and ecological emergency. There must be collaboration across planning, design, construction and management to achieve the best outcomes for nature.
Habitat Matters effectively replicates the physical urban habitats in a digital tool. Connecting the communities that use the assets to contribute towards the long term monitoring of biodiversity net gain, contribute to national biological record keeping and help demonstrable social value.