Your Wildlife Gardening Gateway
Planning and Urban Design changes we want to see
...bringing nature closer to home
By Laura Brook Reviewed by Steve Head, Adrian Thomas and Andrew
The Wildlife Gardening Forum (WLGF) is keen to achieve better recognition of gardens within the planning system. We
have highlighted below a few areas we consider change is needed so that the value of gardens is recognised and embedded in all levels
of the planning processes.
National Policy and Guidance
While the WLGF is encouraged to see the inclusion of gardens within
the National Planning Policy Framework we want to see stronger policies against the development of gardens.
Policy and guidance must
ensure that the loss of front gardens to parking and hard landscaping requires not only the installation of permeable surfaces, but
that the loss of habitat is acknowledged, and soft landscape features incorporated to ensure a net gain in biodiversity. This
could be achieved through good design guidance provided to Local Planning Authorities.
Greater recognition within policy and guidance
of the collective value of gardens working as networks in delivering ecosystem services such as pollination, flood alleviation, urban
cooling and health benefits essential for sustainable development.
Local Strategic Planning
The evidence base for
local plans must incorporate green infrastructure strategies and these strategies must be progressive and forward thinking. Future
policies requiring the enhancement of green infrastructure networks must incorporate the need for developments to be designed so that
garden space within them can contribute to the connectivity of green infrastructure within the urban area as a whole.
to protect gardens from development must be included as robust policies at a local strategic level in Local Plans.
Policies must recognise
the importance of garden habitats in the context of other sites important for biodiversity. The presence of gardens in new developments
must work to enhance these sites and not compromise their integrity from garden escapes, pet predation or dumping of garden waste.
Policies must be designed to safe guard the importance of gardens in both urban and rural settings of neighbourhood
Policies and guidance should be developed to encourage the incorporation of resources for wildlife such as bird and bat nesting
structures, areas for pollinators and other invertebrates, and wildlife-permeable fencing in new build developments. Larger developments
should provide for wildlife through inclusion of hedges, wildlife supporting trees, green corridors, sustainable urban drainage systems,
ponds and appropriate planting.
Further resources should be developed to help local communities recognise and value their own private
green spaces in delivering biodiversity and ecosystems services in their local patch.