Local Wildlife Sites under threat

Better protection needed for special havens

The Wildlife Trusts welcome today’s assurance from the Housing Minister, Dominic Raab, that protection for wildlife will be recognised in the National Planning Policy Framework. The news follows The Wildlife Trusts’ campaign to save Local Wildlife Sites. It is vital that these important natural havens – exceptional areas of land and some of our most valuable wildlife places which add up to an area the size of Devon – are protected and recognised.

Surveys show that Local Wildlife Sites are continuing to be damaged and, to make matters worse, current government planning policy proposals have dropped protection for these special places.

nature

(C) Keiron Huston

This is a critical time for wildlife. While the Government is saying that it's committed to a 25-year plan for the environment, it's simultaneously dropped mention of Local Wildlife Sites from the planning system.

Housing Minister, Dominic Raab, has been quoted in today’s media saying:
“There is absolutely no intention of watering down wildlife protections. The NPPF is out for consultation and before it is finalised we will make any changes necessary to ensure that protection for local wildlife sites is clear.”

Joan Edwards, director of public affairs for The Wildlife Trusts, says:
"This is a critical time for wildlife. While the Government is saying that it's committed to a 25-year plan for the environment, it's simultaneously dropped mention of Local Wildlife Sites from the planning system. I’m delighted that the Minister now says that he is committed to retaining protection for wildlife.

“These sites are exceptional places and vitally important for nature. They must be a material consideration in the local planning process and should enjoy better protection than existing policy. The natural world is already in big trouble - let's not make a bad situation even worse. We hope to be able to talk to the minister about our concerns imminently.”

The Wildlife Trusts want to see improved protection for 42,000 Local Wildlife Sites. From ancient woodlands and wildflower meadows to wildlife oases in our cities, there are thousands of these quiet, often unnoticed places where wildlife thrives. Local Wildlife Sites make up 5% of England’s land area and a survey* of over 5000 Local Wildlife Sites showed that 16% had been lost or damaged in the last five years. Loss to development was a significant cause within this.

The government’s consultation on the National Planning Policy Framework closes on May 10th. Our campaign to save Local Wildlife Sites is here – over 7,500 people have responded in the last 5 days.

Notes for editors:

*Surveys of Local Wildlife Sites

  • Preliminary findings (unpublished) for 2017/18 show:  A survey of over 5,000 Local Wildlife Sites monitored in 2017 showed 16% had been lost or damaged in the last five years
  • Published findings from 2014 survey show:  A survey of over 6,500 Local Wildlife Sites monitored in 2014 showed 11% had been lost or damaged in the last five years