This blog is where you can read about the places we work to protect and the people on the front line. The scope of this blog covers planning, the policies and legal framework that exists to protect the best places for wildlife and of, of course, the individual cases that are the daily work of staff across the UK. We help BirdLife International partners overseas – and you will be able to read contributions from Europe and further afield.
Of course – probably of the best way to save a site is to a acquire it as a nature reserve – this blog will sometimes feature our reserves and the role they play in future of our wildlife, but the full story of the RSPBs network of nature reserves is told elsewhere: http://www.rspb.org.uk/reserves
This blog features the contributions of many individuals – I will have the pleasure of holding the ring and acting as the narrator to this compelling story. So a little about me; I’m Andre Farrar and my first active involvement with the RSPB was in the late 1970s as a volunteer with our Leeds Local Group http://www.rspb.org.uk/groups/leeds.
I was one of many who wrote to their MPs as part of the campaign to get the best outcome for what became the Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981). It wasn’t perfect but it was a good start. Thirty years on, I’m still in the thick of it campaigning for our protected areas and special places for wildlife. Are we winning? Read on and find out, and see how you can help.
Great day at work – as we got the news that a proposed housing development in South Ascot has been rejected following a public inquiry. This is an excellent outcome for the team that mustered our input to the public inquiry in concert with local people, Natural England and the Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust.
The housing development was proposed adjacent to part of the Thames Basin Heaths – a Special Protection Area for vulnerable ground-nesting birds sensitive to the inevitable racking up of disturbance that would come with the houses.
We, and many others, have worked with 11 local authorities to agree a strategic plan to enable house to be built with green places established for residents that means the SPA is protected – this proposal failed to meet the requirements of the plan and has been, rightly, rejected.
You can read some background to the case here, and more about our reaction here.
If this decision had gone the other way, it would have opened the floodgates to more pressure and damage to this sensitive and much-loved area. It is hugely welcome that the inspector and, ultimately, the Government have backed the plan.
This decision comes in the midst of the most intense debate about the future of planning many of us have ever seen – there is still time to comment on the National Planning Policy Framework (for England) – and here’s how you can help.
While I’m on the subject of housing and heathland – the public inquiry into Talbot Heath in Poole is about to get underway again on Wednesday 5 October – let’s hope we’re on a roll.
Dartford warbler - breathing easier following planning decision
Follow me on twitter.
Oops - have just added the 'how you can help' link and corrected a typo.