Budget cuts which will prevent the Environment Agency advising on wildlife-related aspects of planning applications in England, could have long-term consequences across the country, warns Northumberland Wildlife Trust.
The wildlife charity is alarmed at news that the Environment Agency may walk away from its planning-related conservation responsibilities.
Planning has a critical role to play in securing nature’s recovery and creating wildlife-rich places in which people want to live.
Although final decisions on developments are made by the local planning authority, as a statutory consultee EA carries considerable influence in the process.
In stripping back planning rules and severely cutting the EA and Natural England budgets, Northumberland Wildlife Trust says the Government is effectively creating a free-for-all.
Steve Lowe, Northumberland Wildlife Trust Head of Conservation said: “The Environment Agency has been put in a position where it could be forced to axe the very staff and functions that help it ensure future developments don’t damage the natural environment. This move will undermine our resilience to a range of future challenges.
“Northumberland Wildlife Trust calls on the Government and EA to reverse the decision not to consider the impacts of planning decisions on wildlife and the natural environment.
“In the light of recent floods this short-term thinking could have long-term consequences for wildlife and people across the country.”