Posted by: westlancashirerecord | November 7, 2018

Rosie Cooper Asks How Planning Laws Protect Wildlife Habitats

The effect of major housing developments on wildlife in a largely greenbelt borough  should be of concern to us all. And it seems so to MP Rosie Cooper Labour, West Lancashire, who asked the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, “what assessment his Department has made of the effectiveness of planning laws to protect wildlife habitats. [Hansard source HC Deb, 6 November 2018]”

Therese Coffey The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs-“The key statutory provisions to protect wildlife habitats are set out in the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended); the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017; the Conservation of Offshore Marine Habitats and Species Regulations 2017; the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006; and the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009. These protections are also reflected in the Government’s National Planning Policy Framework, which, following public consultation, has been amended to offer further protections for ancient woodland and other irreplaceable habitat, while also strengthening requirements for biodiversity net gain.

“Defra has undertaken a review of the effectiveness of the regulations that implement the EU Nature Directives in England. The review’s findings were published in March 2012. The review did not identify a need to amend the statutory provisions but led to a number of improvements in regard to implementation”.

Waffle? Of course, as we see a 2012 review of EU directives simply condoning our own poor statutes. Developers are adept at avoiding every regulation that purports to stop their activity. And they won’t change now, as West Lancashire faces the grim reality of the proposed new Local Plan. To read the Local Plan Review Preferred Options document, and for more information on the Local Plan Review, please visit the Council’s website, where you can also give your views to be considered as part of the consultation. Printed copies of key consultation documents will also be available at libraries and the Council Customer Service Points (at the Council’s Derby Street offices in Ormskirk and at the Concourse Shopping Centre in Skelmersdale).

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