The new National Planning Policy Framework and wildlife
  • The Department for Communities and Local Government's new National Planning Policy Framework came into effect at the end of March.

    When the draft proposals were announced many of the leading conservation groups expressed alarm at what was being proposed. They feared a relaxation of the planning laws that would have had an adverse effect on wildlife. However, during the consultation period many of the concerns of the RSPB, the Wildlife Trusts, the Campaign to Protect Rural England, and other conservation bodies seem to have been listened to and have been adopted into the final draft. There are though still some grey areas, with some commentators saying lawyers will be the biggest beneficiaries from the new policy!. Time will tell how things work out in practice.

    Of particular interest to the Wivenhoe area are our Sites of Special Scientific Interest*.  In the original draft of the NPPF the protection of the SSSIs was in danger. Local authorities would have been obliged to consent development "unless the adverse impacts of allowing the development would significantly and
    demonstrably outweigh the benefits." But in the final draft there appears to have been a re-think on this.

    The final draft of the policy framework now has this to say about the SSSIs:-

    "...proposed development on land within or outside a Site of Special Scientific
    Interest likely to have an adverse effect on a Site of Special Scientific
    Interest (either individually or in combination with other developments)
    should not normally be permitted. Where an adverse effect on the site’s
    notified special interest features is likely, an exception should only be made
    where the benefits of the development, at this site, clearly outweigh both
    the impacts that it is likely to have on the features of the site that make it
    of special scientific interest and any broader impacts on the national
    network of Sites of Special Scientific Interest"

    The NPPF also has some encouraging things to say about the creation and protection of "wildlife corridors".
    Many species are dependent on these habitat corridors and there is no point in having isolated conservation 
    areas without the means for wildlife to move between them. Unfortunately the National Farmers Union has come
    out with a very negative attack on this aspect of the policy, describing it as "extremely worrying".

    In a press release the NFU said:

     " will be surprised that the NPPF provides planning status for Nature Improvement Areas and introduces the concept of ‘stepping stones’ and ‘wildlife corridors’ as part of the countryside hierarchy. In addition, the ‘new opportunity for local green space to be mapped in local and neighbourhood plans with protection equivalent to green belt land’ is extremely worrying."

    This is a very disappointing response. There really shouldn't be a mismatch between the need to preserve biodiversity in our countryside and the needs of farmers. RSPB schemes working with farmers have shown that wildlife friendly farming can have benefits to both wildlife and farmers.

    * out of interest Wivenhoe Forum member Chris Gibson
    was responsible for defining and designating the SSSI's  around here for English Nature back in the early 1990s

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Wivenhoe Diary
Many thanks to Wivenhoe News for helping to source these dates
1 - 30 April, James Dodds exhibiting at Over the Sofa Gallery, Wivenhoe Bookshop
11 April - 10 May, Jarman's Dungeness, an exhibition by Andy Brooke celebrating Jarman's vision 20 years on, Wivenhoe Library
11 April, Wivenhoe Watching Wildlife Springwatch, Sailing Club, 7:30 - 10pm
12 April, WTFC Vs Thetford Town, Broad Lane, 3pm
12 April, Wivenhoe Ferry Fundraiser, the Sailing Club, 7:30pm - late. Live music from Strings Attached, DJ and curry meal. Tickets £12 from the Bookshop.
13 April, WivGigs, Come and Try day
15 April, Moving Image, Enough Said, William Loveless Hall, 7:30pm
17 and 18 May, Wivenhoe Open Gardens, various locations around the town
17 - 20 April, Beer Festival at the Black Buoy pub; 20 plus guest beers and ciders, food, live music.
19 April, Farmer's Market, Congregational Hall, 9:30 - 12:30pm
19 April, Easter Workshop for children, age 5 - 12, St Mary’s, 2pm - 3:30pm
21 April, WTFC Vs Stanway Rovers, Broad Lane, 3pm
23 April, Italian Literature, start of a five week course with Giovanni Colacicchi, Wivenhoe Bookshop, 2:30 - 4:30pm
23 April, Wivenhoe Film Club, Bicycle Thieves, The Nottage, 7:30pm
24 April, poetrywivenhoe, Allison McVety, The Legion, 8pm
24 April, Funny Farm Comedy Club, Andrew O'Neill, Cricket Club, 8pm
25 April - start of Wild About Wivenhoe month. Various events centred around the Wildlife Garden. Full details to be published... when known!
25 April, Transition Town Wivenhoe Spring Event, open-air bicycle-powered cinema, bar, evening food, all at the Wildlife Garden
26 April, Watching Wivenhoe Wildlife Dawn Chorus Walk, meet at 5am in the train station car park
26 April, Transition Town Wivenhoe Spring Event, Art and Photography Exhibition themed around the Wildlife Garden, William Loveless Hall
26 April, Bird Walk with Richard Allen, Sailing Club, 10am
29 April, Moving Image, All is Lost, William Loveless Hall, 7:30pm
2nd May, Wivenhoe Society Talk, Richard Moulson, CBC Ranger: 'History and Management of Colne Nature Reserve, Wivenhoe Woods and Ferry Marsh, The Nottage, 7:30pm
3 May, WTFC Vs Diss, Broad Lane, 3pm
9 May, Watching Wivenhoe Wildlife, presentations about wildlife in gardens, and gardening for wildlife in Wivenhoe Library, presented by John Rowland, Glyn Evans & Chris Gibson
13 May, Moving Image, Nebraska, William Loveless Hall, 7:30pm
16 May, Shipyard Studios, Inside Out, Keel House, 5 Walter Radcliffe Road, 3pm - 8pm
17 - 26 May, Shipyard Studios, Inside Out, Keel House, 5 Walter Radcliffe Road, 10am - 5pm
17 May, Watching Wivenhoe Wildlife, Moth Trapping and Bat Watching, Wildlife Garden
18 May, Watching Wivenhoe Wildlife, Moth Trapping - the reveal!
20 May, Moving Image, Saving Mr Banks, William Loveless Hall, 7:30pm
15 June, Watching Wivenhoe Wildlife, Wildflower Walk in the gravel pits behind the cricket club, 11am
29 June, Jazz on the Quay, 1pm