Revised national guidance for planning, published by the Government earlier this week, now includes reinstated protection for Cornwall’s wild places following an online #saveourwildlife campaign here in Cornwall and across the country.
These places, known locally as County Wildlife Sites, cover around 10% of Cornwall and were identified by Cornwall Wildlife Trust in the 1980s. They provide havens for wildlife including ancient woodlands, heathland and green spaces in our towns and villages. The campaign, led by The Wildlife Trusts, shows that getting involved and speaking up for wildlife really can make a difference.
Professor Jan Pentreath, President of Cornwall Wildlife Trust, said:
“Thank you to everyone who joined our campaign – you have really made a difference. County Wildlife Sites have now been reinstated as important havens and safe spaces for Cornwall’s birds, bees, plants and all aspects of nature across Cornwall.
Of particular note in the new planning guidance is the requirement that Local Authorities in their neighbourhood development plans should conserve, restore and enhance priority habitats and ecological networks, and protect priority species.
The guidance also requires such local plans to identify and secure opportunities for securing measurable net gains for biodiversity. The reinstatement of protection is great news for Cornwall’s wildlife and wild places and I want to thank everyone in Cornwall who got involved in this campaign. From now on, it is essential that all neighbourhood development plans fully incorporate these new requirements “
The new guidance aligns with the overall aim of Cornwall Wildlife Trust to protect Cornwall’s wildlife and wild places and has been published just as Cornwall Council are preparing to refresh Cornwall’s Local Plan.
The Trust is keen to work closely with Cornwall Council to inform the refresh of the Local Plan, drawing on both the evidence collected by the Environmental Records Centre for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly (hosted by the Trust), and its long-standing experience of managing 57 nature reserves across Cornwall.
Overall, the Trust wants the next Local Plan for Cornwall to respond positively to the ambitions for wildlife set out in the national guidance, and in partnership with local organisations, communities, volunteers and members of the Trust, to secure – and ideally grow - the amount of land being managed as a haven for Cornwall’s wildlife.