New team of expert ecologists joins West Lothian Council

West Lothian Council has taken steps to further improve and protect local biodiversity ahead of COP26.

By Kevin Quinn
Friday, 29th October 2021, 1:00 pm
Leader of West Lothian Council, Lawrence Fitzpatrick, Head of Operational Service Jim Jack & Executive councillor for the environment Tom Conn, joined Open Space Ecology and Biodiversity Officers Becky Plunkett and Hannah Crow.

As world leaders gather for the summit in Glasgow next week in an effort to accelerate action on climate change, a new team of expert ecologists have joined West Lothian Council, as part of the authority’s NETs, Land and Countryside service.

The Open Space Ecology and Biodiversity Officers will be responsible for enhancing protection of wildlife and avian species. They will review, develop and implement the council’s Local Biodiversity Action Plan and Ecological Services with a particular emphasis on climate-change.

Over half of West Lothian is open countryside and green spaces. The role of the officers will be to encourage biodiversity to flourish and to protect those areas already highlighted as being of value to biodiversity. The team will also ensure that communities and individuals have a key role to play in conserving and enhancing biodiversity.

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As the Local Biodiversity Action Plan process progresses, the council will welcome local people to take part and share opportunities for them to do their bit to support biodiversity across the area.

West Lothian Council leader Lawrence Fitzpatrick said: “Protecting and enhancing the local environment is one of the council’s key priorities and we’re delighted to have these new roles.

“It’s an area that is becoming more and more important. Tangible change that will be seen but will also play an active part in improving our local environment and helping individuals and groups within West Lothian achieve their own ambitions when it comes to tackling climate change.”

Jim Jack, West Lothian Council’s head of operational services said: “These are new roles and will play an important part in improving the local environment.

“Our team will be reviewing the council’s land estate, identifying suitable areas for biodiversity, habitat restoration and for enhancing existing areas of high biodiversity.

"We will also lead on the delivery of the planning and implementation of more projects aimed at protecting, managing and improving natural habitats, increasing awareness of conservation in the community and monitoring the sustainable use of land and resources.”