Barrow Common, a County Wildlife Site in Norfolk

County Wildlife Sites threatened by government planning changes


Friday 27 April, 2018




From ancient woodlands and flower meadows to wildlife oases in our towns and cities, there are thousands of quiet, often unnoticed places where wildlife thrives. They are known nationally as Local Wildlife Sites and in Norfolk as County Wildlife Sites.  Now, the Government is proposing to take all reference to Local Wildlife Sites out of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). This means removing their protection from development.

There are more than 42,000 Local Wildlife Sites in England with 1,300 in Norfolk alone, making up nearly 3% of Norfolk’s land area.

Currently Local Wildlife Sites are recognised in national planning policy, which protects them from being developed for housing, roads or industry. Even with this protection, some are threatened by development each year, as is the case with Racecourse Plantation in Thorpe St Andrew that is subject to a planning inquiry later in May.

A recent national survey of more than 6,500 Local Wildlife Sites showed that 11% had been lost or damaged in the last five years and loss to development was a significant cause. This is happening even with the basic levels of protection.

The Government is proposing to take all reference to Local Wildlife Sites out of the National Planning Policy Framework. This means removing protection for all Local Wildlife Sites. This is happening even though references to historic sites with equivalent protection to Local Wildlife Sites are being retained. Currently all Norfolk local authorities have policies designed to protect County Wildlife Sites from development and these policies have largely been successful.

Chief Executive of Norfolk Wildlife Trust, Brendan Joyce OBE said:

“We believe this could be a disaster for our wildlife. The Government makes much of its ambition to be ‘the first generation to leave the environment in a better state than it found it’. County Wildlife Sites lie at the heart of nature’s recovery and form a key component of ecological networks, which elsewhere in the NPPF the government seeks to protect. Norfolk has taken the lead in drawing up ecological network maps, which are designed to steer development away from wildlife areas and improve connections between them. County Wildlife Sites are key stepping stones within this network and any loss will severely damage the network.

“It is vital Government does not leave these sites unprotected. Norfolk Wildlife Trust, along with other wildlife trusts will be responding to this government consultation urging them to re-instate Local Wildlife Sites within the NPPF and are urging others to do the same.”

Add your voice to the campaign to ensure their continued recognition in planning guidance at https://wtru.st/saveLWS
Share this

Top news stories

2018-06-30 National nature challenge brea National nature challenge breaks record
Saturday 30 June, 2018
This year’s 30 Days Wild is a record breaker. The challenge, which ends today, saw more participants than ever ...
2018-06-27 Summer Spirit as Cley calls to Summer Spirit as Cley calls to art and nature lovers
Wednesday 27 June, 2018
Just five weeks until our long summer weekend of wildlife and creativity at Cley! Thursday 2nd till Sunday 5th August...
2018-06-25 Broads’ projects get more than Broads’ projects get more than £10,000 to keep the National Park special
Monday 25 June, 2018
Norfolk Wildlife Trust has received £1,200 for buoyancy aids and education resources for children to experience...
2018-06-22 Go Go Sydney Long Ears Go Go Sydney Long Ears
Friday 22 June, 2018
Sydney Long Ears – Norfolk Wildlife Trust’s beautiful GoGoHares sculpture named in memory of the Trust&rs...
2018-06-19 It’s in the bag for wildlife t It’s in the bag for wildlife thanks to local shoppers
Tuesday 19 June, 2018
Thanks to local shoppers, two Norfolk Wildlife Trust projects have received the maximum funding from the Tesco Bags o...
2018-06-08 Battle to protect wildlife at Battle to protect wildlife at sea receives boost today
Friday 08 June, 2018
Norfolk Wildlife Trust welcomes possibility of 41 new Marine Conservation Zones Today the government has launched a ...
2018-06-01 Summer garden wildlife survey Summer garden wildlife survey to help protect species in Norfolk
Friday 01 June, 2018
Norfolk Wildlife Trust launches a new wildlife spotter survey to record sightings in gardens of hedgehogs, peacock bu...
2018-05-30 50,000 people – and rising – s 50,000 people – and rising – sign up to go wild in June
Wednesday 30 May, 2018
As well-known names back national nature challenge 30 Days Wild Naturalists, TV presenters and authors are backin...
2018-05-22 Wildlife in Common Wildlife in Common
Tuesday 22 May, 2018
A two year project celebrating Norfolk’s commons and their wildlife and heritage has begun,  run by Norfol...
2018-05-01 Jess French joins Norfolk Wild Jess French joins Norfolk Wildlife Trust as Children’s Ambassador
Tuesday 01 May, 2018
Our new Sure Start project will engage with children and families at the very start of their lives, giving them hands...
2018-04-27 County Wildlife Sites threaten County Wildlife Sites threatened by government planning changes
Friday 27 April, 2018
From ancient woodlands and flower meadows to wildlife oases in our towns and cities, there are thousands of quiet, of...
2018-04-25 Nigel and Joshua’s Lad join th Nigel and Joshua’s Lad join the grazing ponies on local wildlife site
Wednesday 25 April, 2018
Two Dartmoor Ponies are settling in to their new home at Litcham Common in West Norfolk, where they will graze the he...