Response to new Planning Minister

Wednesday 28th November 2012

Small skipper butterfly on grassland integrated into housing development (photo Adam Cormack)

The Wildlife Trusts response to new Planning Minister: value our precious wild places as much as the UK public does

Today, The Wildlife Trusts responded with concern to Nick Boles’ first interview since becoming Planning Minister.

New developments must offer the right housing solutions in the right places and work alongside nature

“While we support Mr Boles’ recognition of the importance of green belt, it is vital that the Planning Minister realises that the wider countryside is not simply a blank canvas for new housing. To call for another 2-3% of open land to be developed for housing could threaten wild places and species at a time when there are already huge pressures and threats to our natural heritage,” explains Paul Wilkinson, The Wildlife Trusts’ Head of Living Landscapes.

He continues: “New developments must offer the right housing solutions in the right places and work alongside nature, avoiding sensitive wildlife-rich areas – particularly areas where flooding is an issue – and must incorporate innovative design to include communal green space. This approach is not ‘selfish’, as Mr Boles suggests – it’s common sense.”

This week a coalition of 39 leading environmental charities published the results of a survey by ComRes, organised by Wildlife and Countryside Link (Link), showing that the Coalition Government is failing on its own commitments to Britain’s natural environment. Of those surveyed, less than a quarter (23%) think the Government is doing enough to protect our landscapes and wildlife – on land and at sea. The poll also finds that 84% of people think that the natural environment boosts their quality of life, with 81% wanting to see it and wildlife protected at all costs. More information on the survey.

There are some inspiring examples of new development that respects the natural world. Barking Riverside Development in East London, is 180ha of post-industrial land that will provide 10,000 new homes, community facilities and open space. London Wildlife Trust is working in partnership with BRL to help protect the sensitive ecological habitats and species during the construction period as well as contributing to the creation and enhancement of the permanent wildlife habitats on site. It’s an award-winning example of the type of higher density development which has worked alongside nature from the outset. More information on the development.