Biodiversity policy failures lambasted

Government planning policies to protect biodiversity and geological conservation are failing, the Commons environmental audit committee warned this week.

In a report, MPs complained that PPS9 has failed to bring about the necessary step-change for habitat creation and biodiversity protection. They added that the biodiversity duty placed on local authorities by the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006 is failing to deliver.

The committee's report states: "We welcome the forthcoming review of the biodiversity duty. We are concerned that PPS9 and the biodiversity duty have not adequately protected or enhanced biodiversity and that such opportunities continue to be missed."

The MPs suggested that single regional strategies could help to provide detailed mapping of biodiversity and opportunities for protection and enhancement. But they warned that the sub-national review could undermine an ecosystems approach, with regional development agencies focusing primarily on economic growth.

Natural England chairman Sir Martin Doughty said: "Large parts of England are in biodiversity freefall and we are still witnessing alarming declines in species and habitats. We urgently need to bring the natural environment centre stage into the ways that we set public policy, develop our communities and use our resources."

Halting Biodiversity Loss is available at PlanningResource.co.uk/doc.


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