Communities Secretary, the Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP has ordered that Developers do more to protect Britain’s wildlife species.
In the first move of its kind, and following increasing public interest in the alarming decline of species like swifts, the government has set out expectations for how developers can protect specific wildlife, using measures like 'hedgehog highways' and nesting sites for swifts (see Green&Blue SwiftBlock for example.)
The guidance from government is calling on housebuilders to think about the long term impact of their developments, right from the planning stage and considering how they can increase biodiversity within a site and make this a part of the design process.
In a statement released by the ministry of housing, communities Secretary Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP said:
Building the new homes this country needs must not come at the detriment of our natural heritage.
It’s right that as we deliver houses for people, we must also provide homes for wildlife too - whether that’s for hedgehogs, frogs, newts or birds. (solitary bees and bats too say Green&Blue)
The public have told us that protecting wildlife is important to them – so my message to house builders is to harness this support and get building in a way that protects the environment for the next generation.
The guidance also calls for developers to plant more trees and green meadows – giving vital insects a safe haven to thrive.
The guidance was published on the 21st July and builds on the government’s planning rulebook which was adopted last year and which sets out a bold new principle of environmental net gain, where developers have to ensure space for wildlife is provided in addition to the new homes they wish to build.
Green&Blue are delighted to hear this commitment from the Government towards protecting our wildlife and working to halt the decline of species like our swifts, whose numbers have reduced by over 50% in the last 20 years, but we hope it is backed up by robust policy where regulation is enforced within developments.
Schemes like Building With Nature are a great benchmark for developers to use in order to plan and measure their activity for biodiversity but we believe that we can only see widespread change and adoption of biodiversity measures such as Bee Brick and the BatBlock, when planning policy is adopted and regulated that stipulates developments must cater both for people and for species.
We'd love to hear what you think of the announcement. Were you one of the thousands who have responded to online petitions about habitat becoming mandatory in new builds? Would you be happy to live in a house where birds and bees could also nest? Do let us know in the comments, via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or via social media.