Our work

Our objectives

Our objective is to protect, extend, grow and restore nature in our district. We are a part of nature and without it we cannot survive. We have been working on several high-level projects and have plans for the future.

Our 2021 strategy

Over this year, we will continue to engage with nature and climate groups across the county; work on our mapping exercises; take forward our ongoing court case; and promote a new regional park for Oxfordshire. We will continue to challenge breaches in environmental law, be they over air pollution, sewage pollution of our rivers, development that threatens a safe and secure climate and environment; or threats to our heritage and the conservation status of our buildings and protected areas (such as Sites of Special Scientific Interest, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and nature reserves).

Ongoing activities

We have been working to produce a Regional Biodiversity. Plan Lead: Oliver de Soissons.

See the press release about new National Park to the north of Oxford

Historical maps of South Oxfordshire through time are being studied better to understand the creeping urbanisation that has happened, and the likely effects this has had on bioabundance. We expect to extend these maps forward to the future to show the effects of increasing the housing in South Oxfordshire. The new Local Development Plan will increase housing by more than one house for every two that exist currently. We expect the damage to the natural world to be dramatic. Lead: Prof Richard Harding

Bioabundance supports the Climate and Ecology Emergency Bill Alliance and is actively working with it. Lead: Sally Mears

Bioabundance is the only group to come forward to challenge the Local Plan 2035 (LP2035) which South Oxfordshire District Council adopted on 10th December 2020.

Bioabundance initially received generous pro-bono advice from Brighton Legal Clinic (University of Brighton) to explore  the grounds for legal action on LP2035. Lawyers at BLC have worked on previous successful climate and environmental cases such as the refusal of Heathrow 3rd runway on climate grounds (since overturned).

The BLC team sent a pre-application protocol letter to SODC on 4 January in the hope that the two parties could settle their differences without going any further. This did not prove possible and there was no other course in the view of Bioabundance than to  apply to the courts for statutory review of L2035: the claim was filed on 21 January 2021.

Leigh Day has agreed to handle the claim and Tim Buley QC and Alex Shattock Junior counsel of Landmark Chambers are to represent Bioabundance.  Both have impressive track records in environmental and planning law.

Although only 20-30% of judicial reviews in planning are successful, the lawyers believe that Bioabundance has a reasonable case.

This is a pioneering action by Bioabundance, and our last chance to put our environment before housebuilder profit in South Oxfordshire.

See the first press release by Leigh Day about the claim here.

See the most recent update about the case here.

Lead: Sue Roberts

The key point in our submission to LCTP5 is that the plan must prioritise the 2050 deadline for net-zero carbon in transport in order to tackle the climate change emergency. This means building a sustainable transport network that integrates local e-bus, cycle and walking routes with the strategic rail and bus services for longer journeys. This is the only way to reduce car dependency, especially in rural areas and allow nature to recover after decades of destruction from increasing traffic and carbon emissions on our roads.

To protect nature, the Environment Bill sets out principles of Integration, Prevention, Rectification, Polluter Pays and Precaution. We have responded to the Government’s consultation on the application of these principles here. In brief, the statement is supposed to be a blueprint to show how to apply these principles but it does nothing of the sort. Instead, the original meaning of these words is greatly watered down. The principles are hedged about with concepts of ‘proportionality’ and the aim of the paper is to promote economic development whilst trying to do less harm to nature. An already weak bill that should be replaced by the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill is becoming increasingly toothless.

The key point in our submission to Oxfordshire’s Local Connectivity and Transport Plan 5, See our full response and a summary.

Sharing Knowledge

Concrete or Critters? How Unneeded New Housing is Stealing our Future

A webinar held on 2nd June 2021, organised by bioabundance. We have two talks featured in this video, they’re approximately 20 minutes each, with a a Q&A session is at the end of the video.

  1. Held by Dr. Sue Roberts of Bioabundance and a South Oxford District Councillor. Timestamped at 01:04
  2. Held by Professor David Rogers of the No Expressway Group (NEG)(https://www.noexpressway.org/). Timestamped at 21:36.

Tedx Housing Crisis in a Climate Crisis

Dr Sue Roberts gave a short talk at the Wallingford Tedx Day on Climate Change. Christiana Figueres (leader of the successful 2015 Paris accord talks on Climate Change) provided a talk on Stubborn Optimism. Both are here: http://www.tedxwallingford.co.uk/

Sewage on the news

Prof Richard Harding is interviewed on BBC South Today on how sewage provision does not keep up with over-development.

Flooding on the news

Sue Roberts explains increased flood risks on BBC South Today (3/2/2021)

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