WILDFLOWER meadows, bird boxes and installing rainwater harvesting tanks are among the initiatives being looked at as Newton Abbot Town Council aims to make the town greener. 

The council has pledged to review its working practices and collaborate with environmental groups in a bid to safeguard and improve threatened habitats.

Now members are looking at ways to stage community projects and look to install rainwater tanks on council-owned properties. 

In January the authority declared a Biodiversity Emergency in line with the Government’s aim of halting the decline in native plants and wildlife by 2030 and achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

The move was made by the town council to recognise the need for a healthy environment to support future prosperity and the wellbeing of residents, workers and visitors.

It has already banned the use of pesticides in weed control and thrown its weight behind a pesticide ‘amnesty’ set to take place in Bradley Barton.

It will work with Devon County Council and Teignbridge Council to consider the potential biodiversity impacts of planning applications and infrastructure proposals, as well as supporting businesses and residents in their bids to green up the parish.

A Working Party has been tasked to consider the town council’s action plan and will report back to members in the spring.

Mayor Cllr David Corney-Walker said: ‘We are all becoming ever more aware of the pressure our natural environment is coming under and the need to reverse at least some of the damage caused by human activity.

‘While I recognise the town council has little clout compared to larger authorities and Government, it remains our responsibility to set the tone for Newton Abbot and show some leadership in this critical manner.

‘We will look at all our working practices, assess their likely environmental impact and take advice on means to improve our performance.

‘We already work with Green Futures Newton Abbot on several initiatives and would welcome the public’s thoughts on other projects we might consider.

‘Even the longest journey starts with a single step and that is one I’m pleased to say we’ve now taken by declaring a biodiversity emergency.’