Geodiversity is the natural range (diversity) of geological features, geomorphological features (landforms and processes), soil and water features that compose and shape the physical landscape.
Geodiversity Action Plans (GAPs) provide a new comprehensive approach to conserving Earth heritage, setting out a management framework for geology, geomorphology, soils and water resources for a defined area or an organisation. Since 2004 a range of Local GAPs have been prepared in the UK, covering areas including counties, AONBs, metropolitan areas and national parks. There are also aggregate company GAPs, and a national UKGAP is currently at an advanced drafting stage.
A Norfolk Geodiversity Action Plan (NGAP) is being prepared by the Norfolk Geodiversity Partnership. It aims to bring about a qualitative change in the way that Norfolk's Earth heritage is conserved and communicated. It has five areas of work:
1 – Understanding our geodiversity resources
Norfolk's geodiversity comprises cultural as well at natural resources. We need to understand these resources and their vulnerabilities in order to promote their conservation and enhancement. An audit is central to this work.
2 – Embedding geodiversity in plans and policies
The plans and policies of local and regional government and other organisations such as quarry companies have an impact on the geodiversity resource. We need to promote geodiversity conservation and enhancement by reviewing and contributing to these plans and policies.
3 – Protecting and enhancing our geodiversity resources
Norfolk's geodiversity resources are subject to a range of threats, and even statutorily protected sites and features may be at risk. We need a conservation and enhancement programme both for designated sites and for geodiversity in the wider environment.
4 - Promoting geodiversity awareness and understanding
One of the greatest threats to Norfolk's geodiversity is a lack of understanding of its importance as a fundamental resource. We need to promote public awareness of our Earth heritage as widely as possible.
5 – Managing the Norfolk Geodiversity Action Plan
The sustainability and success of the Norfolk GAP will depend on the strength and commitment of the Partnership. We will need to develop the Partnership as a key means of sustaining the GAP process.
OR visit the Norfolk Geodiversity Partnership's website HERE
Norfolk Geodiversity Partnership leaflet is available HERE
In 2010 the Partnership published ‘Norfolk’s Earth Heritage – valuing our geodiversity’. This is a landmark publication on Norfolk’s Earth heritage and the need to conserve it:
- Provides a concise yet readable introduction to Norfolk's geodiversity and why it is an important resource for life today.
- Explains the business of geoconservation, and promotes a Geodiversity Action Plan for the county, calling for a partnership of like-minded organisations and individuals to take it forward.
- Includes a range of useful resources, including advice for planners.
(Text by Tim Holt-Wilson;
74pp, 85 colour plates; ISBN 978-1-84754-216-8.)
Order a paper copy (£12.00 + £2 p&p) by contacting Jenny Gladstone as above. Please see flyer here.
Top photo: Dressed flints, local bricks, lime mortar and carstone galleting (© Tim Holt-Wilson)
For information on Geodiversity Sites within the Local Sites context, please download the Local Sites Handbook