Support for Wildlife Trust call to protect disappearing Local Wildlife Sites from development

City of London Corporation director Sue Ireland has welcomed the Wildlife Trust's call for more protection for Local Wildlife Sites.

Sue Ireland
Sue Ireland

The Wildlife Trust revealed that more than 10 per cent of England’s 6,590 Local Wildlife Sites have been lost or damaged in the past five years, mainly through building and reduced incentives to farmers to protect them.

The trust’s "Secret Spaces" report focused on sites described by the Government as "of local importance for nature conservation" and designated by partnerships of conservationists and local authorities. Such sites include churchyards, flower-rich roadsides, meadows and ancient woodlands.

They do not have legal protection but local authorities should safeguard them through planning policies.

Wildlife Trust director Stephen Trotter said: "These sites are the Cinderella of the natural environment.

"Many are quiet, unnoticed wild places in which nature thrives. We need greater recognition and protection in the planning and decision-making process."

 
Ireland said: "I fully support the Wildlife Trust’s call for more protection for Local Wildlife Sites. With increasing population pressures and climate change, all sites of importance for nature conservation urgently need more protection if they are not to be lost.
 
"Some of South East England’s most important conservation sites, like the ancient woodlands of Epping Forest and Burnham Beeches, which we manage, are protected by law under our Open Spaces Acts. But too many locally important green spaces don’t meet the criteria for designation as either SSSIs or SINCs, so they are dependent for their protection by local planning authorities which are now under huge financial strain."

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