GETTING tougher with property developers and creating wildlife meadows in Council run parks are some ways Bradford Council could boost its biodiversity.

A newly released strategy looks at how the authority can encourage a wider variety of plant and animal species throughout the district, from its moorlands to its urban centres.

And the report also takes into account how the council needs to do this with an ever tightening budget.

The review, carried out by the Council’s Environment and Waste Management Overview & Scrutiny Committee, will be discussed at their next meeting.

It points out that the Council manages assets including highway verges, parks, woodlands, nature reserves, moorland, farms, grassland, open spaces, cemeteries and wetlands. It adds: “Officers did indicate that due to financial constraints Bradford Council cannot now manage these sites in isolation and needs to work much more in partnership with other organisations and groups.”

The review points out that one of the main ways the Council can find money for new areas of public open space or wildlife areas was through contributions from developers. Normally major developments require builders to provide money towards such projects.

But the committee was told that developers regularly try to avoid these contributions by playing the “viability card” - saying such payments would prevent the development from going ahead.

The strategy says: “Whilst recommendations are made about the provision of open space, green spaces or asking for the development of wetland areas or habitat for biodiversity purposes within a housing development, the “viability card” is played, particularly when a developer says that a site has become unviable and they cannot afford to develop it with the recommendations specified.”

It calls for Bradford Council to “ensure” that such commitments are met, and take enforcement action when developers try to avoid them.

The strategy also calls for more wildflower meadows to be set up in the district’s parks, pointing to Northcliffe Park in Shipley as a good example of how it can work.

The committee meets at 5.30pm in Tuesday in City Hall.