Local Wildlife Sites will lose their protection under current proposals in the Government’s National Planning Policy Framework, which is under public consultation until 10th May. In Essex there are as many as 1,687 Local Wildlife Sites, covering 12,524 hectares. This compares to 123 Sites of Special Scientific Interest (which are protected by law), covering 3,285 hectares.
People can submit their support of Local Wildlife Sites within seconds, by using an online form here: wtru.st/saveLWS.
The public can also respond to a consultation on future farming policy, which is live until 8th May. This is a unique opportunity for nature lovers, planners, local authorities, wildlife experts and nature-friendly farmers to seize the opportunity to reverse the decline of English wildlife.
Andrew Impey, CEO of Essex Wildlife Trust, says: “There’s never been a better time to stand up for wildlife. Decisions about housing and farming are fundamental to the future of wildlife in Essex and the wider country. They will determine whether we are able to lead the world in nature’s recovery or whether we will keep losing wildlife. We are urging people to write to the government to ask for wildlife to be taken more seriously in planning decisions – not least to call for protection for Local Wildlife Sites, which are exceptional places and vitally important for nature. Local Wildlife Sites must be a material consideration in the local planning process.”
Update, 3rd May
The Wildlife Trusts welcomes assurance from the Housing Minister, Dominic Raab, that protection for wildlife will be recognised in the National Planning Policy Framework. The news follows our on-going campaign to save Local Wildlife Sites.
Housing Minister, Dominic Raab, has been quoted in the 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.”
The Wildlife Trusts want to see improved protection for 42,000 Local Wildlife Sites, which make up 5% of England’s land area. 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. Please continue to make clear your support of Local Wildlife Sites, via here: wtru.st/saveLWS.
The campaign to protect Local Wildlife Sites is part of The Wildlife Trusts’ #ActSwiftly campaign. There is more information here: www.wildlifetrusts.org/actswiftly. The consultation on the National Planning Policy Framework is here; it closes on 10th May. The consultation on the future for food, farming and the environment is here; it closes on 8th May.
*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