By SLDC councillor Eamonn Hennessey

Habitat loss and climate change are probably the greatest threats to the variety of life on this planet today. Habitat loss is identified as the main threat to 85% of all species described in the IUCN's (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List which details those species officially classified as "threatened" and "endangered".

Yet in the past 50 years in Britain, through the intensification of agriculture, we have destroyed well over half of our biodiversity, and the populations of birds, butterflies and wild flowers that once gave the landscape such animation and thrilling life have been utterly devastated.

97% of wildflower meadow lost in less than a century.

We are reliant upon pollinators for up to 70% of our food and it is estimated that a third of UKs bees have disappeared in a decade. 24% of Europe’s bees are threatened with extinction.

The fields may still look green in spring, but it is mostly lifeless scenery: it is green concrete.

So, along with the climate emergency it is vital we address this issue now.

We should recognise the importance of small patches of habitats in conservation and protecting the world’s biodiversity. This should link in with large scale conservation efforts, but it highlights the role that edge, hedgerow and urban greenspaces/gardens can have in increasing ecosystem connectivity and health. The priority should be reduction in fragmentation, especially in small, isolated, remnant patches of habitats i.e. increasing connectivity will help in strengthening the ecosystem by making it more robust and less likely to collapse.

We can all play our part. Whether it be an individual leaving a patch of their garden to grow wild for a few months of the year, a school or business dedicating an area for such purposes or indeed a council looking at its assets and determining how and where it can help manage and maintain biodiversity. Creating urban corridors and linking our green spaces can have a tremendous positive effect on loss of habitat and species which in turn helps maintain and improve our native biodiversity, all to our ultimate benefit.