The Government are currently consulting on a revised National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). This framework sets out the rules that guide planning for development at a national scale and will shape what happens in the future for local planning. The outcome of this consultation is hugely important for wildlife and we are particularly concerned that although the existing NPPF makes reference to locally designated wildlife sites, ALL REFERENCE TO THEM HAS BEEN REMOVED from this latest draft text. In Suffolk, all the local planning authorities make reference to local sites in their planning policies, but without this requirement at national level, there is a real risk that this recognition and degree of protection could be removed when there are future reviews of local plans.
In Suffolk, Local Wildlife Sites, (referred to locally as County Wildlife Sites - CWS) make up 5% of the county’s land coverage with over 900 sites designated. Local authorities, land owners and environmental organisations have long recognised the wildlife and cultural value of these sites and Suffolk Wildlife Trust is concerned that their omission from the planning policy framework proposals could make it easier for future erosion of CWS and development encroachment. County Wildlife Sites range from small parcels of private land, designated for a particular species or type of habitat to well-known and loved sites including Ipswich’s Christchurch, Holywells and Chantry parks.
The consultation closes on 10th May, so we need to act swiftly! The Wildlife Trusts have set up an e-petition to respond. After putting in your details, the form helps you respond to this particular issue, although you can also add your own words on why local sites are especially important to you. Both Suffolk Wildlife Trust and The Wildlife Trusts will also be submitting detailed written responses to the consultation.
On the afternoon of Saturday 12 May your local Suffolk Wildlife Trust group invite you to join them for a Spring Nature Walk at Suffolk Wildlife Trust’s Captain’s Wood nature reserve in School Road, Sudbourne (TM421531 , post code IP12 2BE) starting at 2 pm.