Professional ecology advice into the planning system through direct consultation with Local Authorities.
Policy input and strategic planning
Opportunities to influence planning policy and strategy are of fundamental importance in the shaping of Wales’s countryside. The Trust engages, either directly or via its umbrella and partner organisations, to influence national, regional and local policies and plans. Currently, key primary legislation includes the Planning (Wales) Act 2015, the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015, and the Environment (Wales) Act 2016 (further primary legislation relates to infrastructure projects). In the marine environment, relevant legislation and policy includes: the Marine and Coastal Access Act (2009), the Marine Policy Statement and the Marine Spatial Planning Directive (EU Directive 2014/89/EU).
Planning application responses
We can respond to planning application proposals, helping Authorities meet their legal and policy obligations towards wildlife, particularly where we see a significant impact. We get actively involved in applications likely to present significant risks or opportunities to wildlife or ecosystem functioning. We review Local Plan or Local Development Framework policies to ensure wildlife is protected and help seek opportunities to restore and enhance habitats. We employ experienced ecologists with a detailed understanding of local wildlife and local planning policy.
We also seek to empower individuals, community groups and other organisations to protect their local wildlife, and do this as resources allow.
We maintain a neutral stance on development. Our focus is always to help the Local Authority, the statutory authority achieve the best outcome for wildlife. We are uniquely placed to provide tailored, evidence-based and proportionate advice to Local Planning Authorities. We use our local knowledge of North Wales’ wildlife and our understanding of planning policy and legislation help to identify when, how and where biodiversity should be protected and enhanced by the planning system.
Collaborative working is fundamental to the Trust’s overall operation and therefore an integral component of its input to planning. We work closely with other Welsh wildlife trusts, through Wildlife Trusts Wales, on policy and legislative development and, where appropriate, we consult with other conservation organisations on responses to planning applications.