Friday, 13 April 2012

Local Plans are key in NPPF by Kent Wildlife Trust

The new National Planning and Policy Framework (NPPF),  and which has immediate effect, sets the scene for environmental organisations, local authorities and developers to work together to protect and restore the natural environment.
“We welcome the guidance provided by the Framework on how development should help move from a net loss of biodiversity and deliver net gains for nature” says Sue Young, Head of Conservation at Kent Wildlife Trust. “As promised in the Natural Environment White Paper, the NPPF supports the preservation, restoration and re-creation of important habitats and ecological networks and says that local authorities should plan positively to secure enhancement to the natural environment. Local Plans are a key element in ensuring the protection and restoration of the natural environment in the planning system.”

Paul Wilkinson, Head of Living Landscape for The Wildlife Trusts, says: “From our initial reading of the NPPF we are pleased to see the Government has recognised the importance of planning positively for the natural environment and of including Local Wildlife Sites and Nature Improvement Areas. We also welcome the ambition to achieve net gains for nature, specifically referencing the Natural Environment White Paper.

“Local authorities now have the clear steer
needed to help secure nature’s recovery by embedding policies to create vital ecological networks and protect important wildlife sites and species in local and neighbourhood plans.”
However, the National Planning Policy Framework is very much weighted in favour of the need to support economic growth, and it will be essential that a clear case is made for the importance of the natural environment in underpinning the sustainability of both our social and economic wellbeing.

Sue Young continued: “We will hold the Government to its commitment in both the National Planning Policy Framework and the Natural Environment White Paper, and ensure that the planning system lives up to its potential to have a positive role in creating wildlife-rich places where people want to live.”

Simon King OBE, President of The Wildlife Trusts, said: “The natural world is the cornerstone to the
health of our nation and its health should be at the very top of every agenda. I hope this new framework has the potential to make this a reality.”

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