More focus on biodiversity

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Ashburton Biodiversity Advisory Group chair Caption Lynette Lovett.
Ashburton Biodiversity Advisory Group chair Caption Lynette Lovett.
There will be a bigger focus on indigenous biodiversity in the Ashburton District, from both local and central government.

New national policy coming from Government will mean the Ashburton District Council must protect areas of significant indigenous vegetation. The Ashburton Biodiversity Advisory Group also wants council to consider a business case for a biodiversity officer.

The advisory group includes farmers, conservationists and landcare groups, all concerned about the loss of native plants and animals in the district, which has been highly modified over the past century. Little original vegetation remains.

The group has recommended to council that a business case for a biodiversity officer be prepared and considered for council’s longterm plan in 2021.

Council currently does not have a full-time person in the role.

A biodiversity officer with specialised knowledge to look after indigenous plants was going to become imperative, the advisory group said.

Cr Lynette Lovett, who chairs the group, said the business case should include a report about other groups and agencies working in the same space in Mid Canterbury.

The request is likely to be overtaken by new national policy around biodiversity expected soon.

Council chief executive Hamish Riach said council would be legally obliged under the new policy to devote resources to biodiversity

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