Herts and Middlesex Wildlife Trust think so.
Matt Dodds, Planning and Diversity Manager at the Trust joined Amanda Yorwerth on Environment Matters to explain how he thinks it is possible to accommodate wildlife and new homes for people too – as shown in the Wildlife Trusts’ new report Homes for People and Wildlife. He explained how the Wildlife Trusts have worked out a points system assessing the ecological loss caused by a development so that at least an equal amount of ecological gain can be incorporated in and around the new buildings. This objective way of measuring loss and gain should make it easier to ensure no loss to wildlife. Sensitive and valuable wildlife sites need to be avoided, favouring instead areas of low biodiversity.
Welcoming wildlife among our new buildings doesn’t just benefit wildlife, but has enormous positive benefits on our well being too – both physical and mental.
There’s lots of ways that wildlife can be accommodated – bat boxes, copses of native trees, areas of wildflower meadow and, where space is tight, green roofs and walls. The Wildlife Trusts also stress the importance of infrastructure that will enable us to live well and help the environment more generally – cycle paths and pavements, well insulated buildings, rainwater capture and renewable energy generation to name a few.
Matt Dodds stressed that it’s essential that all these considerations should be incorporated at the earliest stages of planning – something you might like to take into account when taking part in the St.Albans Local Plan consultation. Matt also said that you could take a look at his comments on the Local Plan if you needed some inspiration on how this might be done. You have until 21st February to take part in the consultation.