Green issues under the spotlight

Environment on the agenda at civic centre seminar.

MORE than 60 councillors, business leaders and environmental experts have met to address the environmental issues facing North Devon.

The special seminar on Friday focused on the green economy; leisure; tourism and protecting the area’s landscape and nature.

The think-tank at the Civic Centre in Barnstaple was hosted by North Devon Council and delegates included representatives from Natural England, Defra, North Devon AONB and Biosphere Service (NDABS), Exmoor National Park, Devon Wildlife Trust and the Environment Agency, as well as local landowners, businesses and health agencies.

The council’s executive member for environment, Councillor Rodney Cann, said: “Protecting and enhancing the natural environment is one of this council’s top priorities.

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“This seminar is a positive step towards developing an environmental policy with our partners, to give some clear direction for managing and protecting the environment, both now and in the future.”

Council leader, Cllr Brian Greenslade said he was delighted by the turnout.

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He said: “To help achieve a sustainable environment, we can’t just talk about it, we have to take action.

“Therefore, I hope by working together we will see ideas and processes being implemented to help promote and enhance our environment for generations to come.”

During the seminar, delegates worked in small groups to come up with suggestions for how to deal with the environmental challenges faced in North Devon.

Among the ideas suggested was better awareness of the things North Devon already does to help protect and celebrate the environment.

It was also suggested that the area develops a way to measure the value of the environment and that local authority take a pro-active lead by the on main-streaming of environmental outputs.

The event follows an economy and housing seminar held in September last year, which has developed a partnership group to work through some of the key issues. It is hoped a similar partnership group, focusing on the environment, will also now be formed.

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