The meeting was organised by Havant Friends of the Earth and held at the United Reformed Church meeting place on Tuesday November 27th at 7:00pm.
Sue Holt introduced Dr. David Rumble of Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust who presented on the subject of Planning for Diversity. The following notes provide a summary of the presentation, including a large number of active links through which the documents referenced by David can be viewed. Just click the highlighted links to open the references in a separate tab in your browser.
1 – The national picture
David spoke of the decline in biodiversity since the 1970s, illustrated by charts showing the rapid loss of species throughout the seventies as a consequence of the implementation of intensive farming techniques. More recently, as the decline due to agriculture has flattened out, the impact of planning and development policy on habitat loss is more noticeable.
Four documents were referenced, please follow the links to access the detail:
- National Planning Policy Framework – Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government. The NPPF contains comprehensive guidance intended to ensure maintenence and development of biodiversity.
- A Green Future – Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. DEFRA’s recently published approach to managing the environment.
- Biodiversity Net Gain – Good practice principles for development from the construction industry and for developers, intended to ensure that projects leave biodiversity in a better state than before work begins.
- A Peoples Manifesto for Wildlife – Chris Packham’s recently published campaign document.
2 – The local picture
The Partnership for Urban South Hampshire (PUSH) has resulted in plans for 104,350 new homes and 1 million square feet of new employment across the Solent area.
David outlined how direction and targets set by central government has left local authority planners ‘between a rock and a hard place’. The current State of Hampshire Biodiversity document is now 12 years old and the importance of enforcement of the NPPF, DEFRA and Biodiversity Net Gain guidance in planning decisions was stressed.
Local biodiversity topics were covered, including the newly published Solent Waders and Brent Geese Strategy.
Bird Aware Solent is an initiative to raise awareness of the birds that spend the winter on the Solent, so that people can enjoy the coast and its wildlife without disturbing the birds.
There are a number of local coastal defence issues arising from predicted climate change sea level rise. Havant Civic Society is already involved with the Eastern Solent Coastal Partnership exercise on the Langstone shore, but David also stressed the issue of loss of habitat to the west at Southmoor where privately owned sea defenses are in danger of imminent collapse.
On the positive side, the Havant thicket reservoir project could create significant biodiversity net gain.
More information can be found on the HBIC – Hampshire Biodiversity information Centre website. David presented a summary of the Ecological Network Map for Hampshire detail from which can be seen by taking the link.
3 – What can be done.
In addition to aligning with county based initiatives, Havant Borough Council should revisit and revise the ‘Havant Biodiversity Action Plan’. The latest version of this document, viewable here at the Havant FOE site, dates from 2011 and is out of date.
The Wildlife Trusts and friends have convinced Westminster Government of the need for a new law – an Environment Act – to improve protection for the country’s wildlife.MPs will be voting on this soon, so we need them to support a strong Environment Act. You can find out more and take individual action here.
HIWWT have written a Discussion Paper entitled ‘Wilder’, opening discussion on creating a wilder Hampshire and Isle of Wight.
Havant Borough Environment Group Questionnaire
Ray Cobbett presented the work-in-progress findings of the Havant Borough Environment Group questionnaire. More than 670 responses have been received to date and if you’ve not already had your say, please take the link to complete it.
Havant Friends of the Earth can be found here.
You can follow David Rumble’s blog at this link.
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