The term Biodiversity (short for biological diversity) means 'variety of life' on Earth. It includes all living organisms including species, ecosystems and genetic diversity. Biodiversity is, everywhere, organised into three levels. At the top level are the ecosystems, such as forests and lakes. Next are the species, composed of the organisms in the ecosystem from butterflies to eels. At the bottom is the variety of genes making up the heredity of individuals that compose each of the species.
 Biodiversity is fundamental for the Earth's life support system.

Taunton Deane has some outstanding wildlife areas, many of which are protected areas including:

Taunton Deane’s wildlife heritage includes a large number of rare habitats and species, such as the Wood white butterfly, dormice, and bats.

Within the urban area of Taunton, the River Tone is of particular importance as a wildlife corridor to species such as Daubenton’s bats and otters.

Like other public bodies we have a statutory duty to conserve biodiversity. To carry out this work we work in partnership with other organisations, voluntary groups and local communities on projects to improve and protect the district’s wildlife.

You can find out lots of information about the wildlife in Taunton Deane by reading:

For more information about Strategic Nature Areas visit South West Nature Map.

Local nature reserves

We have thirteen Local Nature Reserves, managed by our Parks and Planning departments, where people can connect with nature and benefit from exercise in the natural environment.


Our Landscape and Biodiversity Officer and the County Ecologist work with planners to ensure that legislation and guidance to protect wildlife is embedded within the planning process. The county's ecological networks have been mapped working with the Somerset Wildlife Trust. Where developments might affect internationally important sites the County Ecologist conducts a Habitats Regulations assessment to ascertain whether proposals are harmful or not. If European protected species or other legally protected wildlife are at risk, the Landscape and Biodiversity Officer advises on the best way to safeguard these.


Laws and regulation

Contact us


Phone: 01823 356459