Nature-friendly farmers, planners, local authorities, wildlife experts and people who care about nature are being urged to seize a unique opportunity for new national farming and planning policies to reverse the decline of English wildlife.
Derbyshire Wildlife Trust is asking everyone who wants to see nature’s fortunes improve to act swiftly and respond to government consultations on farming and planning which end in early May.
The consultations present a very rare opportunity – the first in living memory – to influence the future of both national farming and planning policy and how these impact on nature in England.
Declining wild places and the species that depend on them have suffered over the past 70 years with intensive farming and urbanisation being cited as major causes.
Now the public has a chance to call for a visionary approach to the environment – one that means planning rules and farm support and regulation work together towards the recovery of our nature and wildlife.
Stephanie Hilborne OBE, Chief Executive, The Wildlife Trusts, says:
“There’s never been a better time to stand up for wildlife and make our voices heard. Decisions about housing and farming are fundamental to the future of wildlife in this country. They will determine whether we are able to lead the world in nature’s recovery by creating a Nature Recovery Network** or whether we will keep losing wildlife every day.”
“So please write to the government at this critical moment and before 8 May to ask for wildlife to be taken more seriously in planning decisions – not least to call for protection for Local Wildlife Sites to be reinstated; and please have your say on agricultural policy because farmers deserve to be rewarded by the tax payer if their work benefits our society as a whole.”
The consultation on the National Planning Policy Framework is here; it closes on 10th May. The rules that guide planning for development will shape the future of housing. About 36 square miles of land are used by new developments every year and so the outcome of this consultation is hugely important for wildlife. The Wildlife Trusts want to see rules that:
- Protect wildlife and secure recognition of Local Wildlife Sites (which lose protection under the current proposals)
- Integrate wildlife habitats into new developments – for wildlife and people
- Commit to an improvement for wild species and habitats from all development (‘net biodiversity gain’)
- Require that new developments contribute to a national ‘Nature Recovery Network’ by including this in local planning strategies
The Wildlife Trusts want to see rules that:
1. Reward farmers and land managers for the benefits they provide for society, like clean water, healthy soils and a wildlife-rich countryside
2. Replace the Common Agricultural Policy with a system that supports public benefits and environmental outcomes for society
3. Changes the culture of regulation, making it easier for farmers to help nature without being weighed down by paperwork, inspections and bureaucracy
More information about The Wildlife Trusts’ #ActSwiftly campaign can be found here www.wildlifetrusts.org/actswiftly.
Swifts arrive back to the UK in late April and early May. The swift is a bird that needs towns and the countryside to nest and feed in; it is emblematic of the need for wildlife-rich habitats in both environments.