Biodiversity duty

Strengthened Biodiversity Duty

East Sussex County Council – First Consideration Report

Date of first consideration 18/12/23


The Environment Act 2021 introduced a strengthened ‘biodiversity duty’ which requires all public authorities in England to consider what they can do to conserve and enhance biodiversity. Defra guidance on complying with the duty is available.

The action local authorities take for biodiversity will contribute to the achievement of national goals and targets on biodiversity. The Environmental Improvement Plan (EIP23), published in January 2023, sets out government’s plans for improving the natural environment.

By 2030, the government has committed to:

  • halting the decline in species abundance; and
  • protecting 30% of UK land.

By 2042, the government has committed to:

  • increasing species abundance by at least 10% from 2023, surpassing 2022 levels;
  • restoring or creating at least 500,000 ha of a range of wildlife rich habitats;
  • reducing the risk of species extinction; and
  • restoring 75% of our one million hectares of terrestrial and freshwater protected sites to favourable condition, securing their wildlife value for the long term.


As a public authority, East Sussex County Council must:

  1. Consider what they can do to conserve and enhance biodiversity by 01 January 2024. No template has been provided for this first consideration.
  2. Agree policies and specific objectives based on their consideration as soon as possible after 01 January 2024.
  3. Act to deliver the policies and achieve these objectives and report on them. A DEFRA reporting template is available.

This First Considerations Report addresses step 1. This first Report is essentially a scoping exercise of the Council’s plans, strategies and functions relevant to the Biodiversity Duty, which are summarised in the table below.


Following this First Considerations Report, East Sussex County Council must report on actions taken to conserve and enhance biodiversity, achievements resulting from our actions, and actions we plan to take in the next reporting period (steps 2 and 3). The end date of the first reporting period should be no later than 01 January 2026, and then within five years of the previous reporting period.

More information

ESCC has published a full list of ESCC plans, strategies and functions [326.9 KB] [pdf] relevant to the Biodiversity Duty.