An abundance of nature should be baked into every local plan, says CPRE

11 January 2022

Commenting on government proposals for a mandatory Biodiversity Net Gain requirement in local plans, Tom Fyans, director of campaigns and policy at CPRE, the countryside charity, said:

‘We’re in the midst of climate, nature and public health emergencies, and they must be tackled together, in an integrated way. Done right, biodiversity net gain – the principle that all development should leave nature in a better state than before – could represent a big step forward. But, as ever, the devil is in the detail. We need to be confident that the way the Environment Act is implemented through planning will genuinely work for nature, climate and people.

‘Critically, we also need to see irreplaceable habitats given greater protection – the grasslands, woodlands, hedgerows and watercourses that support so much nature. Creating new and better spaces for wildlife, for example through Nature Recovery Networks, is a vital next step. Without adequate protection for what we already have, nature will not get the help it needs to recover.

‘One important goal is to see a 40% increase in native hedgerows by 2050. Getting an increased hedgerow network baked into local plans would be really welcome as a natural way of reducing air pollution for people while simultaneously boosting biodiversity and reducing flood risk. This consultation represents a chance for an integrated, joined-up approach to improving the quality of our mental and physical health at the same time as providing more affordable homes and the boost nature needs.’

For further information, case studies or to interview a spokesperson, please contact: Sam Relph, CPRE Media Officer, 020 7981 2827 / 07982 805759