A step back for Society?

Wednesday 23rd March 2011

The Wildlife Trusts' response to Planning Review actions

The Government planning reforms announced as part of today’s budget are a blast from the past, according to The Wildlife Trusts.

Paul Wilkinson, head of Living Landscape for The Wildlife Trusts, said: "This Government may consider itself to be the greenest ever but this approach feels like a blast from the past – a retrograde step for Society. Increasingly it is clear that we can’t go on sacrificing the natural environment. The debate is not jobs or wildlife but jobs and wildlife. It seems this Budget is all for Big Business and not the Big Society.

"The promise of a faster planning system could lead to missed opportunities. We are not against all development and clearly some aspects of the current regime could be simplified. We are working with businesses across the UK to ensure opportunities are taken to put wildlife back on the map and create truly sustainable development.

“Nature is not a luxury but a necessity we cannot afford to do without. The Chancellor has missed an opportunity to put in place positive planning for nature’s recovery and to optimise strong public feeling for the natural environment; so clearly expressed during recent consultations on both the public forest estate and Natural Environment White Paper.

It seems this Budget is all for Big Business and not the Big Society

The Wildlife Trusts say planning must focus on adaptation to protect, restore and create a robust and resilient natural environment which can stand up to the challenges of climate change. The conservation organisation fully supports the recommendations1 made in the Making Space for Nature report, including the establishment of Ecological Restoration Zones. The uncertainties of a changing climate are just as relevant for people as they are for wildlife. Well connected, landscape-scale areas for wildlife are great for people and the economy. The added benefits of creating, or restoring, wildlife habitats include flood control, pollution control to food production and long-term solutions to climate change impacts.

Paul added: “Opportunities for people to enjoy the countryside, coast and seas, and the green spaces in towns and cities, are crucial to our health and wellbeing. The natural environment provides a source of inspiration, refreshment, excitement and challenge. Experiencing the environment has repeatedly been demonstrated to be an influential factor in assisting in the development of individuals’ personal character and confidence.”

Story by RSWT