Geodiversity charter for England

23rd October 2014

Related Topics

Related tags

  • Natural resources ,
  • Biodiversity ,
  • Ecosystems


Richard Ogden

A vision for geodiversity to be recognised as an integral part of England's environment, economy and heritage has been launched by Defra, together with a forum of organisations and businesses.

The charter aims to encourage decision makers to celebrate and take action for geodiversity, the variety of rocks, fossils, minerals, soils, landforms and natural processes that constitute and shape the earth, such as rivers, waterfalls, Cotswold limestone and Dartmoor granite. Defra says these features are often overlooked as environmental assets.

The charter was developed by the English geodiversity forum, a partnership of organisations, including Natural England, the National Trust, and companies from the aggregates industry.

The aim is to encourage good conservation of geodiversity and include it in policy making at all levels, for example, considering the impact of natural processes when planning new developments.

It suggests that developers incorporate geodiversity features into new developments. An example is the petrified well, known as the North Sunderland tufa, which was discovered during the redevelopment of city’s north dock. The tufa was incorporated into the new buildings and continues to grow.

The forum also urges local authorities and companies to develop business opportunities based on geodiversity, such as tourism, accommodation, and local arts and crafts.

England has over 1,200 geological and geomorphological nationally important sites of special scientific interest and a network of over 3,700 local geological sites.

Geodiversity is protected by the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981; the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000; and the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009. It is also recognised in the national planning policy framework.

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