Our parks services team plays a key role in nature conservation in the borough.
We own six local nature reserves in Barnsley. Parks services manage five of them. They carry out a planned programme of habitat management and enhancement. This is for both the public's enjoyment and for wildlife. The practical works are carried out by our countryside ranger team. They're also helped by voluntary rangers and various conservation volunteers such as BTCV.
There are two other local nature reserves in the borough:
- Rabbit Ings (Royston) run by Wakefield Council.
- Bretton Park run by Yorkshire Wildlife Trust.
The team works closely with the voluntary sector. We're always keen to recruit new voluntary rangers who can act as our eyes and ears on sites. They also get involved in the management of sites. If you'd like to help, please contact us.
Local wildlife and geological sites
Advances have been made in the team's work on the local records system for wildlife. If you need data that we may hold, please get in touch.
We've been assigned 62 'local sites'. These represent the best examples of land for nature and geology in the borough. These important sites are assigned by Natural England.
Land can be designated as a Local Wildlife Site if it meets certain criteria set out within the documents regarding habitats or species present.
We don't own most of 'local sites' (Local Wildlife Sites and Local Geological Sites). We're working through the new Local Sites Partnership with conservation activists. We want to improve those sites with land managers and partner groups. As resources allow, management agreements and practical conservation works are being made with land managers.
Natural England regulates and reports on the nationally important 'Sites of Special Scientific Interest' (SSSI's) in the borough.
Biodiversity Action Plan
A major task we led on was the completion of the first Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) for the borough in 2002. This was in partnership with Barnsley Biodiversity Trust. The BAP was reviewed and reissued by them in 2009. Contact the trust for more details about the BAP.
We created a new biodiversity project from central funds in 2011. The project has two main strands to it:
- an officer to advise those who make decisions across the borough on wildlife issues
- the creation of a Barnsley Biological Records Centre (BBRC) for the first time
The officer targets key land managers both within the council and private owners of wildlife-rich land. This is to preserve and enhance the borough's native wildlife. Ecological comment is made to colleagues in the local planning authority. This is on matters such as planning applications in order that we use compliance with statutory 'biodiversity duty'. This is something which public bodies are subject to.
BBRC is a service which brings together ecological data from all sorts of sources. You can request details from the BBRC by filling in and returning a data request form. Please also read the terms of supply and conditions of use of the data. There may be a charge for use of the BBRC facility.
The humble hedgehog is a Barnsley target species for extra conservation measures under the BAP. This is due to it's apparent 25% decrease in numbers over the last decade. In January 2012 a new national website called Hedgehog Street was launched. It aims to help the public get involved in recording hedgehog sightings. We advise the Barnsley public to join in and fill in the survey.