Background and purpose
As a densely urbanised inner London borough, little remains of Hammersmith & Fulham’s original natural ecosystem complexes. Despite this, many quality wildlife habitats exist along the borough’s waterways and rail tracks and within its parks, cemeteries and community gardens where these are not over-manicured. Wormwood Scrubs is our largest green space and the river Thames and the Grand Union Canal also form two important ‘blue’ wildlife corridors.
The Biodiversity Commission has been set up to examine ways of maintaining and enhancing the biodiversity of the borough and making more space for nature. We all benefit from contact with nature and wildlife. Indeed, maintaining nature’s rich diversity is central to our wellbeing. The more we understand the web of life, the more enthusiastic we tend to be.
We think it is essential to have people at the heart of this process. The commissioners are all local residents with a keen interest in the upkeep and expansion of local green spaces. We hope to increase the involvement of children and volunteers in this pursuit and at the same time influence planning policies so that all stakeholders are working together to enrich the biodiversity of the borough.
The commission was launched in January 2017 and is expected to work until October/November 2017. It was established following a report on H&F’s current biodiversity which was presented to H&F’s Community Safety, Environment and Residents’ Services Policy and Accountability Committee in November 2016.
- Morag Carmichael (Chair)
Morag coordinates the local Friends of the Earth group in H&F and has previously volunteered with environmental social charity Groundwork. She continues to volunteer with the Trees for Life project in Scotland and with forest school in various places around London. She has lived in H&F for 45 years.
- Professor Derek Clements-Croome
Derek is an architectural engineer and a professor at Reading University and Queen Mary University London. He specialises in the design and management of intelligent buildings focusing on health and wellbeing. He is a built environment expert for the Design Council and a Fellow of the Building Research Establishment and the Royal Society of Medicine. He is especially interested in biophilic design and making space for nature in buildings and cities.
- Cathy Maund
Cathy has worked for the Hammersmith Community Gardens Association for 32 years. HCGA work with a variety of schools, groups and volunteers. They have four sites in H&F: Ravenscourt Park glasshouses, Phoenix School farm, Godolphin Gardens and Lena Gardens.
- Vanessa Hampton
Vanessa has worked in parks, allotments, horticulture and conservation project management for 15 years and is currently manager of Walpole Park in Ealing. She is also a committee member of the Friends of Wormholt Park and has lived in Hammersmith & Fulham for 14 years.
- Louise Barton
Louise’s professional background is in finance, although earlier she qualified as an agricultural scientist. She has lived in Fulham for over 20 years and is a committee member of the Friends of South Park. She is actively involved with a vegetable and herb garden where adults and children are encourgaed to take an interest in gardening and nature.
- John Goodier
John is a friend of Ravenscourt Park. He has a degree in agricultural botany and has a wide theoretical background. He helped to write a previous Biodiversity Action Plan for Hammersmith & Fulham.
- Moya O’Hara
Moya has worked for Urbanwise.London (previously Hammersmith & Fulham Urban Studies Centre) for nine of its 34 years of existence. The centre mostly works with children and young people in London, especially Hammersmith & Fulham and its surrounding boroughs. The work focuses on learning about all aspects of the local urban environment including its wildlife, green spaces, the river and the canal.
- Dr Nathalie Mahieu
Nathalie is a Friend of Margravine Cemetery. She has a degree in geology and is a keen naturalist. She routinely surveys birds in Margravine Cemetery and the surrounding area, as well as insects. She has been monitoring the Peregrine Falcons on the roof of Charing Cross Hospital since 2007.
- Alex Laird
Alex is on the Friends of Bishops Park committee and is a medical herbalist. She runs the charity Living Medicine which teaches people how to identify, grow and use food and herbs safely to support their health and treat everyday ailments.
Stage 1: A review of relevant information
The commission has conducted a literature review, examining current research into biodiversity in London and around the world.
Some of the key documents are listed below:
- Urban Ecology and Biodiversity in Hammersmith & Fulham (pdf)
- Biodiversity 2020: A strategy for England’s wildlife and ecosystem service 2011 (Defra)
- City of London Draft Biodiversity Action Plan 2016-2020 (pdf)
- GLA Housing Committee Scoping Paper June 2016: Promoting Biodiversity in New Housing Developments (pdf)
- Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM): Guidelines for Ecological Impact Assessment in the UK and Ireland (Terrestrial, Freshwater and Coastal) Second Edition 2016
- The Natural Choice: Securing the value of nature June 2011 (HM Government) (pdf)
- The National Pollinator Strategy: for bees and other pollinators in England November 2014 (Defra)
- Planning Guidance Supplementary Planning Document July 2013 (H&F Council) (pdf)
- State of Nature UK report 2016 (RSPB) (pdf)
- Zoological Society of London (ZSL) Lets Work for Wildlife Guidance Document: Conservation of Tidal Thames Fish through the Planning Process (pdf)
- Hammersmith & Fulham Council Local Plan
Stage 2: An open call for evidence
In May 2017, the biodiversity commissioners have written to a number of relevant organisations such as the London Wildlife Trust and the RSPB, and some individuals too whose work is in this field, asking for written evidence of the need to enhance biodiversity and successful ways of doing this.
GiGL (Greenspace Information for Greater London)
Port of London Authority
Terrapin Bright Green
University of Reading
Zoological Society of London
Stage 3: Public hearing
The commission consulted H&F residents on its findings and draft recommendations at a meeting of the Community Safety, Environment and Residents’ Services Policy and Accountability Committee on 20 November 2017.