I heard yesterday that Dungeness is the most designated place in England – and so it should be, given the wealth of wildlife it supports. Yet even the most special of the special is not immune from threat. We are gearing up to put the case for the nature of Dungeness at a public inquiry into plans to expand Lydd Airport.
Where Dungeness is not unique is that it’s a landscape loved by people – locals and visitors alike. Many of those places that still add to the quality of our lives today are there because of successful campaigns mounted to protect them. We’re proud of the record of successful campaigns we’ve been involved in – from stopping the badly located windfarm proposal on the Isle of Lewis through to working with ports developers to avoid damage on the Thames. It certainly isn’t always about stopping development – often it’s about campaigning for the best outcome with the natural world put firmly at the heart of decisions.
We get involved directly in a relatively small number of cases (and you can read about many of them on this blog) – we also work constructively to ensure that the planning system is set up to give real protection to the natural environment. But we are not alone! Communities and individuals across the UK are involved in campaigns to save features of their landscape. If you are involved and are battling to protect the best features of your environment - The Guardian is interested in hearing about your case. They’ve launched a new part of their website to support their Piece by Piece project and we at the RSPB really welcome their initiative.
Back in the early 1980s a book, Holding Your Ground, was published (Here’s a review of the time). Written by Angela King and Sue Clifford, it was a handbook of activism for those who’s sense of place, of what is special in their landscapes, drove them to strive to protect the nature of their world. Though it’s scope was wider than wildlife alone, it was published when nature conservation was finding it’s voice and becoming increasingly influential.
Piece by Piece promises to help the Big Society get the Big Picture – it’s a timely contribution to an important aspect of our lives.
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