RUSHCLIFFE NATURE CONSERVATION STRATEGY IMPLEMENTATION GROUP
RNCSIG was set up to help implement the Rushcliffe Nature Conservation Strategy intended to protect and if possible enhance wildlife in Rushcliffe. The steering group consists of organisations with a significant interest in Rushcliffes Wildlife (Notts Wildlife Trust, Rushcliffe Borough Council, Notts BAg) + a range of Friends Groups, Parish Councilors and interested individuals. For the make up of the steering group see attached – RNCSIG Contact List
Nature in Rushcliffe
Rushcliffe is largely rural, with fragments of wildlife rich habitats found within the farmed landscape, supporting plants such as cowslip and orchids. There are significant woodland areas on the hills above Gotham and West Leake, but most of the woods are small copses scattered across the Borough. Small pockets of species-rich grassland are located around Rushcliffe, often on abandoned industrial sites. Road verges provide a useful wildlife habitat, particularly in the south of Rushcliffe. In addition wildlife has readily colonised mineral workings and disused railway lines and a wealth of species are also found in urban areas. There are no natural lakes in Rushcliffe, but gravel extraction has provided several large water features and the Grantham Canal is, in wildlife terms, currently a series of narrow lakes and ponds.Rushcliffe is an important area for some species: black poplar, barn owls, water voles, grizzled skipper and great crested newts are found in Rushcliffe, but are rare in most of Nottinghamshire. Otters are recolonising Rushcliffe’s watercourses and badgers are widespread. But many species have suffered due to modern lifestyles. Wider influences, such as climate change, will add to the pressure on our local wildlife. The principle of good stewardship demands that we must protect our natural heritage, for the sake of ourselves, our children and for the generations to come.
Important Wildlife Sites
There are 8 Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs) in Rushcliffe, which are
regarded as nationally important, plus another 203 designated as Sites of
Importance for Nature Conservation (SINCs), which are of county importance.
These total around 2,000 hectares in area and cover a wide range of habitats
(species rich grassland, woodland, marsh, lakes, reed etc), supporting a diverse
range of species. Twenty five sites and four Notified Road Verges are managed
as Nature Reserves (that is land where nature conservation is a primary role),
totalling around 370 hectares, often with significant input by volunteers and
community groups. Seven of these sites have been declared as official Local
For details of Rushcliffe`s reserves look at this sites reserves tab
Green Infrastructure & Climate Change
The term “Green Infrastructure” describes the land that has not been built on or used for agriculture and includes features like hedgerows, playing fields, gardens, old railways, rivers and streams, allotments etc. Managed in an appropriate way, they can meet a range of human needs and help support the natural environment as well. By looking
at the existing GI, we can identify what needs to be maintained and enhanced, as well as the gaps and opportunities.Improved GI infrastructure in Rushcliffe can help to mitigate
Ø Small size and isolation of remaining “good” wildlife habitat ie SSSI`s, SINC`s, reserves
Ø Impact of new housing developments.
Ø The potential impact of climate change as species try to adjust to the changes that may result in local extinctions, but also the appearance of new species migrating into the area.
Local volunteers are active in a range of activities running work parties, organising wildlife walks, talks and open days monitoring planning applications or surveying for wildlife. Of particular note is the Rushcliffe Barn Owl Project and the Wildlife Watch group for young people and the number of site Friends groups that have been set up.
Wildlife sites in both urban and rural areas are under pressure from development. Local development documents set out where and how development will be allowed and to provide rules for testing sometimes contradictory requirements.Thus it is crucial that they provide levels of protection for good wildlife sites and features, as well as for legally protected species. Hopefully reasonable policies will steer development away from our critical wildlife capital, whilst also promoting the creation of Green Infrastructure and adequate levels of mitigation for the natural environment where development does occur.
Strategic Aims of the Conservation Strategy
To protect and enhance Rushcliffe’s wildlife resources, thereby contributing towards
local and national Biodiversity Action Plan targets, mitigate the effects of climate
change on wildlife and provide ready access to wildlife rich green spaces, with a
particular emphasis on species rich grassland and marsh habitats, and species
characteristic of the Borough. This will be achieved through a partnership of key organisations, local special interest groups and individuals and translate into the following set of objectives:
• Promoting high quality management of all nature reserves.
• Promoting sympathetic management on farmland, corporate areas, public areas and gardens.
• Supporting the comprehensive recording of wildlife in the Borough.
• Raising awareness of nature conservation, promoting community involvement and access.
• Influence the impact of development on habitats and wildlife.
• Reducing habitat fragmentation and increasing the number and size of nature reserves.
• Setting up measures to monitor the success of the strategy.
However the following attachment is a summary of the Strategies Aims & Objectives RNCS Aims & Objectives – detailed
How will we do this?
Although much of work to implement these objectives is carried out by various local groups and organisations, the ‘Rushcliffe Nature Conservation Strategy Implementation Group’ (RNCSIG) exists to act as a focus for conservation in Rushcliffe and promote it`s further development. RNCSIG is a community partnership composed of various key organisations, including Rushcliffe Borough Council, Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust,
Campaign to Protect Rural England – Nottinghamshire, Nottinghamshire County
Council, Nottinghamshire Biodiversity Action Group And various local wildlife groups and parish councils
How can I find out more ?
Download a full copy of the strategy from the Rushcliffe Borough website this link also contains recent RNCSIG Annual Reports and links to nature conservation grants.