Category Archives: Planning

Make nature part of ‘build build build’ policy, green watchdog says

The Guardian reports politicians and developers must incorporate green thinking into the design of new infrastructure, according to the chair of the government’s conservation watchdog.

Natural England’s Tony Juniper called on the government and planners to change their thinking to ensure environmental considerations were designed into new housing estates, as well as road and rail projects, at the beginning, rather than being a hasty “add-on” or “mitigation” at the end. 

Government plans overhaul of planning rules to ‘consolidate and simplify’ environmental restrictions

INEWS reports charities are urging the government against making hasty changes to environmental regulations, as Environment Secretary George Eustice prepares to announce a post-Brexit overhaul of England’s planning system. Mr Eustice will on Monday announce a consultation to redraft England’s system of Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA), used by planners to assess the environmental impact of major development projects. But green groups are concerned the reforms could lead to weaker protections for rare habitats and species. 

Developer fined for destroying bat home in London

The BBC report property developers who deliberately demolished a house containing protected bats have been fined £18,000.

Jenna Kara, 29, and Tina Kara, 34, directors of Landrose Developments Ltd, started tearing down the bungalow in Stanmore, north-west London, in 2016.

The company pleaded guilty at Willesden Magistrates’ Court to damaging or destroying the breeding site.

The court heard the developers had pressed ahead with the demolition despite an expert reporting the site was home to soprano pipistrelle bats – a protected species in the UK and Europe.

Photo by Michelle Stiller under creative commons 

Property developers row back on netting used to stop birds nesting 

The Guardian reports some developers are reviewing their policies after protests from environmentalists. A grassroots uprising is forcing builders and councils to remove netting over trees and hedgerows installed to prevent birds nesting and hindering their developments.

Environmentalists have condemned the practice and say it has exploded in scale this spring. The use of netting to prevent birds nesting in hedgerows and trees allows developers to get around the law that prevents the removal and damage of birds nests, and avoid delays to development caused by the nesting season.

Threat to Normandy Green Belt – respond by 23 Oct

Proposed development that could have a detrimental impact has returned to the village, with Guildford Borough Council’s (GBC) proposals in the revised local plan.  Policy A64 proposes 105 houses at the site between Flexford and Normandy.

We urge you to consider responding to the proposal before the deadline of Tuesday 23rd October (noon), 2018.

If approved this would almost certainly have a detrimental effect on our wildlife through removal of feeding grounds for wildlife and through the destruction of habitats. Development here could impact on the UK’s red listed yellowhammers, as well as barn owl and bat foraging, plus impact on freshwater, pasture and hedge habitats and create potential loss of habitat connectivity.  This area is within the Wanborough and Normandy Woods and Meadows Biodiversity Opportunity Area.

The aim of Biodiversity Opportunity Areas (BOAs) is to establish a strategic framework for conserving and enhancing biodiversity at a landscape-scale, making our wildlife more robust to changing climate and socio-economic pressures. Recognition of BOAs directly meets National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) policy for the planning system to contribute to international commitments for halting the overall decline in biodiversity, by establishing coherent ecological networks that are more resilient to current and future pressures. Safeguarding BOAs via local plans fulfills NPPF requirements to plan for biodiversity at a landscape-scale.

This land has been offered for sale before and GBC only recently refused a planning application to have 9 houses built on it (which is currently under appeal).  However, the government’s Planning Inspector challenged GBC recently to start building houses earlier in the Local Plan and thus this amendment has been proposed.

For more information and other considerations (such as erosion of Green Belt) of this proposal please refer to the Normandy Action Group’s website.

Little Flexford development rejected

Guildford BC has rejected the proposal for 25 houses to be built on the Little Flexford Site of Nature Conservation Importance.

The proposed scheme’s material harm to the SNCI and potential for adverse effects on the Ash Ranges Special Protection Area (designated for its international importance as part of the Thames Basin heathlands) are two of the reasons for rejection, as well as the development being in the Green Belt and the impact on the character of the site and the surrounding area.

Please do report any interesting wildlife you see on the site or nearby as it helps to protect this important wildlife site.