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.
So, ministers have been ordered to “think the unthinkable” in efforts to stimulate the economy back to life and pull Britain out of its double-dip recession. That is, according to the Daily Telegraph.
I come back from holiday and apparently further planning reform is back on the agenda, including relaxation of the green belt and other pro-growth measures. In case you hadn’t noticed, we’ve just been through a major planning revolution. Indeed, local planning authorities up and down the country are busy implementing it as they update their local plans, and the Department of Communities and Local Government is currently consulting on a number of further (relatively minor) reforms.
The reforms so far are already pro-growth; the surprising fact is that both the development and environment sectors are pretty happy with how the reforms have worked out, although as I’ve said elsewhere, a lot will come down to the resources and skills that local authorities have available to implement them.
‘Blue sky’ thinking has a place, but here are some reasons why thinking the unthinkable may not be such a good idea. I leave it to you to decide which apply.
(a) Last time you did it, it provoked a storm
(b) Most interested parties are quite pleased with the current situation
(c) We don’t know yet if the last lot of reforms will work
(d) No-one has any appetite for further fundamental reform
(e) Further reform, even if justified, will only create short-term chaos
(f) You haven’t properly understood the many benefits of the planning system (see what I said about our report Inexpensive Progress?)
(g) It won’t work anyway
(h) It’s just plain daft
Well, August is the silly season. Let’s hope that the rational voice of ministers who understand the planning system will prevail.