If you could see like a swift, you’d see how planning and farming policies affect our landscape. You'd see what happens when hedges and meadows go, and when towns and cities grow. By getting involved with an important Government consultation on planning you can help shape how future housing and development takes account of wildlife. The deadline is 10 May – please act swiftly.

The rules that guide farming and planning both have a huge impact on our wildlife. And sustainable food production and housing development rely on a healthy natural environment. You have an opportunity to help shape future policy in England by responding to an important Government consultation. A consultation on farming closed Tuesday 8th May, but there's still time to respond to the planning consultation, which closes Thursday 10 May. There are also some specific risks that need action from Government, for example Local Wildlife Sites are not mentioned in the draft planning guidance. You can read more below or go straight to the details on planning here.

What you can do to help - whether you have a few minutes or more time to spare

We're asking all supporters of wildlife to respond to the planning consultation. Don't be daunted - you can just send an email and we've made some notes to help (see below). The main thing is to respond, however you choose to do this, and to let the government know you want future farming and planning policy that helps our wildlife to recover by providing more and better areas of habitat on farms and in new developments.

You can:

1) Respond to the Government consultation on the draft National Planning Policy Framework 

2) See our response to the Government consultation on the future of national farming policy 

3) Tell your friends and family and encourage them to get involved and respond too

This is a very rare chance for each of us to call for planning rules and farm support and regulation to point in the same direction, towards the recovery of our nature and wildlife. 

Find out more about the Planning consultation

The Government has launched a consultation to ask for views on a major overhaul of the rules that guide planning for development: the National Planning Policy Framework. Whether this is one or two houses at the end of the road, or a major 5,000 house development, these rules will shape the future of housing. It sets out the way that different kinds of development should be located, designed and built, and what infrastructure and services are needed. About 36 square miles of land are used by new developments every year, so the outcome of this consultation is hugely important for wildlife.

Key points:

  1. Protect wildlife and secure recognition of Local Wildlife Sites (which lose planning policy protection under the current proposals)
  2. Integrate wildlife habitats into new developments – to benefit wildlife and people
  3. Commit to an improvement for wild species and habitats from all development (‘net biodiversity gain’)
  4. Require that new developments contribute to a national ‘Nature Recovery Network’ by including this in local planning strategies

Find out more about how to respond to this consultation and our views on it is here

Find out more about the Farming consultation

The Government consultation on the future of farming 'Health and harmony: the future for food, farming and the environment in a Green Brexit'  asked for views on where public money, in the form of support to farmers, will be spent in the future. It will also help to establish how the rules and standards for land management should be set and enforced.

If we are to help our wildlife to recover we need a revolution in the way that we manage our farmland. We work with thousands of farmers who care about wildlife and do their best to help on it their farms. And what works for wildlife can be good for agriculture, too. Farmers need healthy soils and huge populations of pollinators, like bees, to grow crops. We need clean, healthy water running into our rivers. We need a wildlife-rich countryside to spend time in, and feel happier and healthier as a consequence.

Key points:

  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. Make it easier for farmers to help nature through changing the culture of regulation, including through better use of technology

You can read our full response to this consultation, or a summary, here

Seeing our landscape with a swifts-eye view

Swifts spend almost all of their time in the sky swooping over fields and rooftops. With their bird’s eye view, they can see how agriculture overlaps with our buildings and roads. They can see how our towns are growing. They can see when hedgerows go and fields get bigger and when beautiful woods or meadows are lost. They can see the changes happening to the landscapes we love and the improvements we can sometimes bring about, in a way that we just can’t.

If we could see like a swift, we’d see how planning and farming policies affect our landscape 

If we could see like a swift, we’d see how our housing, hedges, field margins, gardens, riverbanks and road verges could be wilder and more joined-up, to give wildlife the space it needs to thrive and move around.

We all need nature. Swifts need healthy farmland full of insects to eat and houses where they can make their nests and raise their young between bricks and under our roofs. People need nature around them in the places where we live and work to improve their quality of life. Farmers need healthy soils and habitats to grow food, avoid polluting rivers and ensure pollinators like bees have the habitat they require. 

If you agree please help at this critical time. The deadline is 10th May for the planning consultation. It’s time to act swiftly! Find out more about the consultations and how to respond below.