Election special – Wildlife and Biodiversity

With a General Election looming on 7 May, we asked the political parties to set out their policies on eight key rural issues that affect the countryside in 2015. Here we ask - are there instances where development should be stopped to protect wildlife or biodiversity? 


Gloucestershire floods

Are there instances where development should be stopped to protect wildlife or biodiversity? 



We have created an approach that allows local communities to properly protect areas such as sites of special scientific interest, special protection areas and special areas of conservation. The National Planning Policy Framework makes clear these important protections must be taken into account by local authorities.


We oppose development that damages sites covered by the European Habitat Directive or Ramsar Convention wetland sites. The importance of these sites in flood and erosion control and water management must be recognised by development policy. We also campaign against ‘biodiversity offsetting’ as a means of justifying development projects that damage biodiversity.


It’s important to find the right balance between protecting the natural environment andbuildingthehomesweneed. Labourwill give local communities more say in development, and we will encourage the preservation and creation of habitats to improve biodiversity, protecting Britain’s natural environment for future generations.


We have enough information to support decision-making about the environment and development, rather than choose between them. We’re proposing a Nature Act with legal targets to prevent, for example, the decline in biodiversity. Local authorities will have a duty to ensure access, biodiversity and cleanliness levels are maintained or improved.


Wildlife and biodiversity must be valued as integral parts of any healthy functioning ecosystem. The planning system should reflect this and the impact of development on wildlife and biodiversity should be considered in any planning proposals.


Protecting wildlife and biodiversity is important not just of itself but also to encourage tourism and maintain quality of place. Our planning system should seek benefits for biodiversity from new developments, such as the restoration or avoidance of fragmentation of habitats. In remote areas, development should provide sustainable economic activity, while preservingimportantenvironmentalassets.


UKIP is the only party that seeks to protect the green belt and areas of natural beauty. We believe that the National Planning Policy Framework planning rules have been disastrous and should be changed to prioritise building on brownfield sites before building on green belt land. 

Read the responses to all eight key issues.