Our National Government has a mission to build One Million new homes in the UK by the end of 2020, and another half a million by 2022. They have also stated that they want our generation to be able to leave the environment in a better condition than what it was given to us in.
How is this going to be achievable?
In the last century we have been loosing our natural habitats at an alarming rate. The Wildlife Trust wants to help protect our wildlife for the future in a way that will benefit homeowners and developers. The focus is on where and how new homes are built, and how many need to be built. They are looking at our woodlands, parks, rivers and countryside to see where new habitats are needed, and how to shape the housing developments around this information.
The Wildlife Trust influences thousands of planning applications every year to help benefit wildlife and people together.
We all know how good being in contact with nature can be, having no contact can affect our mental health and life expectancy. The way that nature is built into our urban areas can really help to address these problems, with too many building developments having missed out on the chances to integrate the two.
56% of our wild plants and animals have seen a decline in numbers in the past 50 years. Lots of this has come from intensive agriculture across our landscapes, but development also contributes highly. A lack of space, and disruptions to habitats all impact. Farmland has become less of a ‘home’ to wildlife, so how can we increase the importance of the urban areas. Many gardens have been developed, turned into driveways or patios, leading to less ‘greenery’ for our wildlife. To carry on as we are is not sustainable.
New housing developments can help to contribute to supporting nature. If new developments are placed in areas already with an established infrastructure this is beneficial. The houses and developments as a whole should be designed to integrate well will wildlife and people, as well as reducing carbon emissions and minimising water usage.
A nature-friendly development would retain existing meadows, wetlands, hedgerows and woodlands and join them up with new wildlife-friendly gardens, walkways and cycle paths. This will create a network of green and blue corridors to support our wildlife.
Not only does this help the natural environment, but people will enjoy living in a greener space. Trees and woodlands provide shade, privacy and reduce pollution levels, and green spaces bring people together, all great benefits.
Buildings should become more wildlife friendly, with the addition of bird and bat boxes, insect friendly structures and connected spaces for hedgehogs to pass freely. These should all become the norm moving forward, with so many new houses being built these small features, together will have a large impact.
Developers should work with the natural habitat as much as they can, retaining and enhancing those features already found. Habitat creation should be encouraged, and damage to existing habitats minimised at all costs.
Residents should be encouraged to work together to maintain their shared green spaces, growing food, understanding the environment and educating the next generation.
How will you be thinking of our natural habitats surrounding your new home or building project?
Contact Richard for any Building Survey advice.