As one of the largest landowners in Leeds, the University has a responsibility to take biodiversity seriously. With a diverse combination of urban areas, residential sites, woodland and sports grounds, we maintain a variety of habitats to meet user needs across the city. In 2011, with the introduction of our first Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP), we have worked with a number of partners both internally and externally to ensure that we continue to have a net positive effect on the biodiversity of our estate.
It is becoming more important that all public bodies, including universities, plan for and consider biodiversity on their grounds. In its ‘Sustainable Development in Higher Education’ strategy the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) committed to promote sustainable estates management, including biodiversity. At the same time the Learning and Skills Council’s (LSC) strategy ‘From Here to Sustainability’ also identifies biodiversity as a key part of their principles and actions.
In 2016 we launched our new ‘Biodiversity Standard’ which builds on the previous plan and provides an overarching strategy for how we manage all of our properties as well as strengthening our position in the city and across the sector as exemplars of urban biodiversity practices. We also launched a revised version of our campus Biodiversity Action Plan for the city campus in May 2017. This is largely an operational progress document, which is monitored through the Biodiversity Group. Both the Biodiversity Standard and the campus biodiversity action plan can be viewed here.
Want to get involved?
We are keen to develop our knowledge and understanding of our biodiversity and ensure that this is then fed into our management practices. To do this, we have a variety of ways that people can get involved. These include:
- Monitoring and recording our campus wildlife, including birds, mammals, pollinators and bats;
- Signing up to our annual BIG campus birdwatch;
- Getting involved in the Sustainable Garden activities;
- Helping us to record changes to the campus landscape, using our bespoke recording tool;
- Keeping an eye on our Peregrines via our webcam in the spring.
If you’d like to get involved or find out more about any of the above activities, please send us a message on our online form here.