Built-up areas and amenity land. The built environment, gardens, grounds, road verges and public open space now form a very significant resource for many common and vulnerable wildlife species. Their value, with that of the wider urban environment, should not be ignored.
Individual areas can be small but the combined area for built-up and amenity areas is greater than the area of more ‘natural’ sites.
Pipistrelle Bat, House Sparrow, Swallow, House Martin and Swift all rely principally on our houses for their roosting and breeding requirements.
Other buildings are also important with the Peregrine Falcon …
Tree Sparrow, Song Thrush, Hedgehog and many insects including butterflies are supported by well-grown gardens and flower beds in our parks and green spaces.
Garden ponds support all our amphibian species, especially Common Frog.
Mammals such as Badgers and Foxes are well accustomed to urban areas and often exist in higher numbers than in the countryside.
Within built-up areas there are also important semi-natural sites, such as ancient woodland or meadows.
There are also recognisable ‘natural’ urban habitats which develop on waste ground and derelict sites. Often these contain a mix of native and alien introduced species such as Buddleia, creating a very diverse ecosystem. Whatever their origin, these sites offer many people a chance to appreciate biodiversity.
In view of their potential, a section has been added to the local biodiversity plan with descriptions of how to promote biodiversity in built-up areas.
This broad habitat type in the national classification covers urban and rural settlements, farm buildings, caravan parks and other man-made built structures such as industrial estates, retail parks, waste and derelict ground, urban parkland and transport infrastructure. It also includes domestic gardens and allotments.
Although amenity grassland is a form of improved grassland it is also worth drawing attention to in this context.