Wildlife Trust

Wildlife Trust

The Wildlife Trusts have expressed concern about government proposals that allow the new Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC) to fast-track major developments such as ports and power stations.

The British conservation charity fears wildlife may not be adequately considered when approving new developments.

Six National Policy Statements released this week state that the IPC will give the final go-ahead on major infrastructure projects. Stephanie Hilbourne, chief executive for The Wildlife Trust, claims this overrides the current democratic process where local people, through bodies such as Wildlife Trusts, can raise objections to developments on environmental grounds. She said:

“Local Wildlife Trusts all around the country scrutinise and monitor planning applications – around 90,000 each year. Our local expertise and knowledge is second to none. It often adds value to the planning system on major infrastructure and other projects.

“The new process must allow this careful consideration and involvement to continue with major infrastructure projects, whether it is the siting of ports, wind farms or nuclear power stations. For the future of our natural environment and our wildlife, it is vital we continue to have that say.”

The Wildlife Trusts are worried that, since the IPC does not have explicit ecological expertise, wildilfe and ecology issues may get overlooked when future large-scale developments are planned.