Wildlife Trust calls on people to protect Local Wildlife Sites

Local Wildlife Sites across England are set to lose their protected status under the government’s review of planning legislation. People have until 10th May to respond in a consultation about the proposed changes and Cheshire Wildlife Trust is urging people to take this unique opportunity to have their say.

“The rules that guide planning for development will shape the future of housing. About 36 square miles of land is used by new developments in England every year - so the outcome of this consultation is hugely important for wildlife,” said Rachel Giles, Evidence and Planning Manager at Cheshire Wildlife Trust. “Over 1000 woodlands, wetlands, heathlands and wildflower grasslands in our region are set to have their protection in the planning system substantially weakened if proposed changes to the National Planning Policy Framework are agreed. Now is the time for everyone to have their say before it’s too late.”

Unprotected LWS

Cheshire Wildlife Trust is concerned that the removal of protection for Local Wildlife Sites, will make it more likely that important areas for wildlife will be lost to developments such as housing and infrastructure.

“Local Wildlife Sites represent many of the very best areas for wildlife in our region and include popular visitor attractions and beauty spots such as Moore Nature Reserve, Macclesfield Forest and the river valleys of the Weaver, Dane, Bollin and Dee,” said Rachel. “The only form of protection afforded to these sites, and many like them across the county, is through the planning system. It is crucial therefore that their recognition and protection is not lost through this revised policy.”

Other areas that the Wildlife Trusts would like to see within the framework include policies that integrate wildlife habitats into new developments protecting and enhancing networks of biodiversity and a strong commitment from the government to ensure a net gain for nature in new developments.

For more information on how to respond to the consultation, including how to take part to help save the protection for Local Wildlife Sites, please visit the Trust’s website at www.cheshirewildlifetrust.org.uk/actswiftly

People can also respond to the specific Local Wildlife Site issue through the Wildlife Trusts e-action at https://wtru.st/saveLWS which contacts the National Planning Policy Framework team about reinstating the protection.