Torridge District Council Invests £55,000 in Tractor to Safeguard Green Spaces

Torridge District Council Invests £55,000 in Tractor to Safeguard Green Spaces
Tractor image by Jill Wellington From Pixabay Tractor image by Jill Wellington From Pixabay

Torridge District Council Invests £55,000 in Tractor to Safeguard Green Spaces

Torridge District Council, in a proactive move to safeguard its green spaces, has given the green light for the acquisition of a £55,000 tractor. This decision comes as part of the council’s commitment to preserving and enhancing rare habitats and wildlife within the North Devon Biosphere.

The investment aims to fortify the implementation of the Nature Recovery Plan, a crucial initiative aligned with the government’s 25-year environment plan.

The pressing need for a compact tractor, along with additional equipment like a ‘cut-collect flail,’ power harrow, and loader, was presented before the community and resources committee.

The machinery is intended to be a linchpin in executing biodiversity projects across Torridge, managing green spaces efficiently, and addressing concerns related to the deterioration of these areas.

The specific focus of this investment includes the protection and enhancement of the dune and grassland habitats at Northam Burrows Country Park and Kenwith Valley Local Nature Reserve.

Additionally, the equipment will play a vital role in implementing a comprehensive biodiversity plan aimed at enhancing verges and meadows throughout the district.

The biodiversity plan, integral to the North Devon Biosphere’s Nature Recovery Plan, seeks to restore habitats for rare wildlife and combat the degradation of nature.

This ambitious plan is in line with the government’s broader environmental strategy, emphasizing the need for local authorities to actively contribute to the nation’s environmental goals.

The head of communities and place, Sean Kearney, emphasized the significance of this investment, particularly considering the delays caused by the transition of bringing the grounds’ maintenance team in-house.

He pointed out that the urgency in executing the biodiversity plan necessitates prompt action.

Kearney stated in his report to the members,

“The council could employ contractors with this equipment to undertake the work. However, the cost of this is expected to exceed the cost of purchasing the equipment within the first few years.

Having brought the ground maintenance service in-house, there is opportunity to achieve long term cost savings that will outweigh the initial capital costs to purchase equipment.”

The acquisition of the tractor and related equipment is not only viewed as a short-term solution but as a strategic investment that aligns with the council’s broader goals.

The cost of the tractor is expected to be offset by subsidies from the Environmental Stewardship Scheme on Northam Burrows, emphasizing a commitment to sustainability.

Despite queries about the exploration of electric alternatives, the council clarified that there are currently no suitable electric tractors available in the market.

This sparked disappointment from Councillor Peter Hames (Green, Appledore), who voiced concerns about the council’s commitment to the climate emergency and urged exploration of alternative, eco-friendly options.

Councillor Hames, although disappointed, cast a dissenting vote against the purchase. Nevertheless, the majority of the council supported the acquisition, emphasizing the immediate need for the equipment to execute essential biodiversity projects and manage green spaces effectively.

This investment underscores the council’s commitment to environmental stewardship, sustainable green space management, and its dedication to contributing to national and regional environmental goals.

The tractor and related equipment are expected to play a pivotal role in maintaining and enhancing Torridge’s green spaces for the benefit of biodiversity, wildlife, and the overall well-being of the community.

Torridge District Council’s investment in a £55,000 tractor represents a strategic move towards sustainable green space management and biodiversity conservation.

The decision reflects a commitment to environmental stewardship, aligning with broader national and regional environmental goals.

The acquisition of this machinery is not only a short-term solution but a strategic investment for long-term cost savings and effective execution of crucial biodiversity projects.



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