“Newt counting delays” in our planning system are a massive drag on productivity and prosperity of our country says our Prime Minister Boris Johnson
It seems that having a go at the ecological protection our planning laws provide is the new blood sports of our prime minister. Challenging the value of ecological protection is nothing new. In November 2011, George Osbourne, then Chancellor of the Exchequer, launched a similar attack. In its White Paper of 7 June 2011 entitled ‘The Natural Choice: securing the value of nature’ the Government stated its ambition:
“We want to improve the quality of our natural environment across England, moving to a net gain in the value of nature. We aim to arrest the decline in habitats and species and the degradation of landscapes. We will protect priority habitats and safeguard vulnerable no-renewable resources for futures generations. We will support natural systems to function more efficiently in town, in the country and at sea. We will achieve this through joined-up action at local and national levels to create an ecological network which is resilient to changing pressures.”
Less than six months later, Osbourne announced that he wanted to make sure that so called “gold plating” rulesprotecting things like habitats was not putting “ridiculous costs on firms by burdening them with endless social and environmental goals”. DEFRA reviewed the impact of the Habitats and Wild Birds Directives and found that Natural England had actually objected to only 0.5 % of the 26,500 consultations on development it received each year.
If developers and Councils follow the rules, development is entirely possible whilst at the same time looking after our wildlife and most precious environment. The means of protection is already in place to protect our ecology for future generations to enjoy and is for the benefit of all. It just requires those charged with its protection to have the will to enforce it.
Both the PM and Medway Council would seemingly disregard the crucial role that nature, wildlife and our environment has to play in keeping us both physically and mentally sound as we work and play. It is evident to the people of the Peninsula the importance our natural surroundings – especially during this ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Nature has provided people with much solace during this coronavirus crisis and we know that we need nature not just for health and wellbeing but also because restored natural habitats can capture carbon. The government plans Investing in roads will put more cars on the road. And investing in unsustainable developments and undermining vital environmental protections, will mean nature continues to lose out and will leave us open to the catastrophic impacts of climate change.
The facts are that healthy ecosystems on the land and better understanding of the role nature based solutions can play to absorb more carbon will help us deal with climate change something Medway Council declared in the Climate change emergency in 2019.”making Medway a place to be proud of the key outcome of becoming a “clean and green environment “
And now especially as the slow recovery from lockdown begins we are in place a quite unique place to start to deliver a green recovery to bring back lost habitats,protect our beautiful places and to ask planners and developers to design places where people and nature thrive together,preserving,protecting and promoting our natural green spaces.
We do not believe Medway Council knows what the effect will be on our ecology of building 12,500 homes on the Hoo Peninsula. We do not believe they have done the simplest of ecological assessments or paid any attention to the Paris Accord on Climate Change in their submissions to the HiF bid. They are leading us blindly into an unsustainable future.
We must DEMAND Medway confirm that the HIF bid conform to the Paris accord on Climate Control and that a thorough Ecological assessment has been undertaken with positive results. Or pull out of the HiF agreement and rethink development on the Hoo Peninsula.