Worcestershire Wildlife Trust is asking people to respond to the Government’s consultation on changes to the planning system.
The conservation charity believe that nature's recovery should be a key consideration in all planning decisions and that any changes must strengthen protection for wildlife and give more priority to nature in and around new development. Sadly, the proposals set out in the consultation will make it harder to protect and enhance wildlife across our county.
The proposed changes are described in the Government's Planning White Paper 'Planning for the Future', which is out for consultation until October 29th. As they stand, the proposed changes fail to address climate change, the ecological emergency and growing health inequalities. In fact, we think that if implemented as they are, the changes will make it almost impossible for us to deliver a network of green places and corridors to help nature to recover and would mark a huge step backward for nature conservation. We are therefore working with Wildlife Trusts across the country to persuade Government to make sure that nature’s recovery is embedded in any change to the planning system and we would like the public to add their voice to our calls for a better way forward.
What do The Wildlife Trusts want from these reforms?
We accept that the current planning system is far from perfect. Indeed, while we work hard to make sure that nature is taken into account in planning decisions in Worcestershire, we know that much more needs to be done to put nature’s recovery at the heart of decision-making. We believe that any reform of the planning system must deliver the following principles:
- Wildlife recovery and easy access to nature for people must be at the heart of reforms.
- Protections and standards must not be weakened and proper impact assessments must be in place before planning permissions are granted.
- The intertwined ecological and climate crises are addressed, by protecting land that's in recovery. Working with colleagues across the country we propose a new designation - Wildbelt – to support nature’s recovery and re-link fragmented habitats.
- Residents and other stakeholders must be able to engage in design and decision making at all stages and will have the information they need to understand the impacts of plans on nature and on communities.
- Decisions will be based on accurate and up-to-date ecological data, with a full program of investment in place to gather, analyse and hold data appropriately
The consultation closes on 29 October. By responding you can really help wildlife. Whether you are passionate about plants, love bugs or just want to be able to keep enjoying Worcestershire’s wonderful countryside this is an important moment to speak up. The Government has said it is very keen on hearing "from individuals" so The Wildlife Trusts have made it easy for you to add your own views. There’s lots more information about the proposals and the Wildlife Trusts’ response, together with a clickable response form to help get your voice heard.
Please take a moment to help protect Worcestershire’s wildlife. Thank you!
UPDATE: November 2020 - The consultation has now closed. The combined Wildlife Trusts' response included examples and comments from Worcestershire and you can read what we said in The Wildlife Trusts Response to the Planning White Paper: Planning for the Future October 2020.