A charity dedicated to the protection of wildlife has published a set of guidelines to help local authorities build nature-friendly housing developments.
The Wildlife Trusts’ new guidelines stress the importance of putting the natural environment at the heart of planning and ensuring new developments serve both wild habitats and residents.
The guidelines call on councils to avoid losing or damaging wildlife sites when building as well as ensuring new housing works with the natural habitat available.
They also state that habitat creation should be a standard feature of all new housing development.
Council planning departments can achieve this through the creation of ecological network maps built from local data with the active involvement of civil society. They should also draw on ecological expertise.
‘We’re calling on the government and local authorities to build beautiful, nature-friendly communities in the right places,’ said Rachel Hackett, Living Landscapes Development Manager for The Wildlife Trusts.
‘We should prioritise places for new housing that are already well served by infrastructure,’ Ms Hackett continued.
‘We should avoid destroying wildlife sites and locate new houses in places where they can help to restore the landscape and aid natural recovery.
‘It’s possible to create nature-friendly housing by planting wildlife-rich community green spaces, walkways, gardens, verges, roofs, wetlands and other natural features. These gains for wildlife improve people’s health and quality of life too.’
Responding to new guidelines published by the Wildlife Trusts on building nature-friendly housing, Cllr Martin Tett, the Local Government Association’s Housing spokesman, said: ‘Councils are committed to seeing housing developments that protect and enhance the natural environment and enable wildlife habitats to thrive and flourish.
‘But they need the planning tools to make sure developers build good quality homes in the right places.
‘Government should work with councils to establish a clear, robust and transparent viability procedure which ensures the delivery of affordable housing, infrastructure and other amenities that communities need to back development and create great places to live.’