Calls for people to 'play their part' as Portsmouth revealed to be one of the least biodiverse places in the UK

WILDLIFE campaigners are urging city residents to 'play their part' in helping nature thrive as data revealed Portsmouth is one of the least biodiverse places in the UK.

Friday, 20th December 2019, 6:01 pm
Updated Friday, 3rd January 2020, 7:36 pm

Figures from the National Biodiversity Network (NBN) show that the city has records of only 2,334 species - including birds, mammals, fish, insects and plants - placing it 299th out of 380 locations.

Fareham and East Hampshire ranked higher with 2,499 and 5,568 species respectively. But Havant and Gosport fared worse with 1,620 and 1,544.

However, Dave Rumble at the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust (HIWWT), believed Portsmouth had a lot to offer nature lovers. He said: 'For its size and amount of urban cover, Portsmouth punches well above its weight in the biodiversity league tables, making a unique contribution to the country’s wildlife heritage.

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Portsmouth Harbour and the Solent. Picture: Shaun Roster

'This is mainly due to the coast and the home it is for dozens of species of birds, plants, insects and fish.

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'But we shouldn’t underestimate the value of the built environment for wildlife – gardens and public open spaces in the city play a huge part in the network used by nature.'

The HIWWT recently launched its plans for the Wilder 2030 scheme to encourage more greenery in urban areas.

Mr Rumble added: 'Declines in wildlife are still very worrying and so all areas need to play their part in not merely protecting wildlife but reversing declines.

'This means we’ll need to robustly defend the Solent and its wildlife from the impacts of humans, but also invest in a nature recovery network – something that the wildlife trust is helping to make a reality.'

Local partnership Bird Aware Solent, which is made up of conservation groups and councils, is also seeking ways to protect nature in the Solent.

Residents can get involved in their Great Solent Birdwatch event that will run in 2020, helping to record a variety of different birds.

Spencer Dawson, communications lead for Bird Aware Solent, said: ‘The Solent is an amazing place with an abundance of mammals and birds, but it is also busy with people and sadly we pose a threat to the wildlife.

'However, by looking out and appreciating the fantastic biodiversity we have, everyone can make a positive difference.'

The most biodiverse area in the UK was the Scottish Highlands with 16,273 species. London was the least biodiverse with only 159.