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

2018-05-01 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...
2018-04-18 Ben to go Broads to Brecks to Ben to go Broads to Brecks to celebrate Norfolk Day
Wednesday 18 April, 2018
Ambassador of Norfolk Wildlife Trust and of Norfolk Day, Dr Ben Garrod, will journey across Norfolk on Friday 27 July...
2018-04-17 New research reveals nature’s New research reveals nature’s beauty increases happiness
Tuesday 17 April, 2018
30 Days Wild pioneers action to connect people with nature The Wildlife Trusts’ annual nature challenge 3...
2018-03-29 Hi-tec installation for intern Hi-tec installation for internationally-important fen
Thursday 29 March, 2018
A data logging piezometer system has been installed this week at a Norfolk fen to gather detailed data about the site...
2018-03-28  Norfolk's iconic swallowtail Norfolk's iconic swallowtail butterfly at risk from climate change
Wednesday 28 March, 2018
Norfolk's butterflies, bees, bugs, birds, trees and mammals are at major risk from climate change as temperatures...
2018-03-22 People’s choice Alice Lee will People’s choice Alice Lee will exhibit her unique ‘Flock’ at NWT Cley Marshes
Thursday 22 March, 2018
Norfolk Wildlife Trust is excited to host talented Norwich-based artist, Alice Lee for an exhibition, colouring book ...
2018-03-14 NWT announces new Chief Execut NWT announces new Chief Executive
Wednesday 14 March, 2018
The trustees of Norfolk Wildlife Trust are delighted to announce the appointment of Pamela Abbott as the new Chief Ex...
2018-03-06 Grant will give children a sur Grant will give children a sure start with nature
Tuesday 06 March, 2018
Norfolk Wildlife Trust has received a grant of £7,770 from the National Lottery’s Awards for All scheme f...
2018-03-05  Mass marine death along North Mass marine death along North Sea coast
Monday 05 March, 2018
Tens of thousands of marine animals have been washed up along the UK’s east coast following the cold temperatur...
2018-02-27 Bag funds for wildlife Bag funds for wildlife
Tuesday 27 February, 2018
Norfolk Wildlife Trust is bidding to bag a cash boost from the Tesco Bags of Help initiative. Tesco teamed up with G...