List of YWT Nature Reserves (A-Z)


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Planning applications - how to respond and our role

Planning applications must be made to the ‘Local Planning Authority’ (LPA), for any development that involves the change of use to a piece of land.

Positive Planning

Development can cause serious harm to wildlife but it does not have to. Indeed, with careful thought new development can deliver valuable biodiversity enhancement, so our planning role is as much about promoting positive outcomes as it is about fighting harmful proposals. We are committed to working in partnership with planners, developers, communities and other environmental bodies across Yorkshire to ensure that the development decisions made are as environmentally sustainable as possible.

Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and Planning Consultations

Yorkshire is a growing region and has around 30,000 planning applications a year. As a result, the Trust is unable to be involved with every case. This is why we try to focus on those cases where we feel we can make a real and positive difference for Yorkshire’s special habitats and species. We also seek to maximise our efficiency by working in partnership with organisations such as Natural England so that we do not duplicate effort.

We are formally consulted on hundreds of applications a year even though we are not a statutory consultee. The fact that we are consulted is down to our growing member support and the value local authorities put on our local expertise.

How we prioritise responses

Due to limited resources we must prioritise our responses. We put a great deal of effort into strategic planning such as Local Development Plans to try to reduce the frequency of conflict between development and wildlife protection at an early stage.

We then prioritise responses to those areas where we have most local knowledge – close to our nature reserves and Living Landscape Projects. Applications/plans which would significantly impact sites which are designated for their wildlife value such as Local Wildlife Sites (LWS) will also be given a high priority. Occasionally we will get involved with applications outside of these areas if it may be possible to secure a large environmental gain.

What you can do

  • Find out when your local authority is consulting on its Local Plan. Check their website.
  • Respond to consultations - insist on strong policies to protect wildlife, and ask for new wildlife habitat to be created as part of major developments.

  • Find out if your parish or town is putting together a Neighbourhood Plan. You can seek the creation of new wildlife-rich green space as part of the plan.
  • Respond to planning applications you think could damage wildlife, or have the potential to create more areas for wildlife, especially if they go against policies in your local plan.

  • Let your local councillors, and those on the planning committee know why you are objecting.

You can download our Planning Leaflets below for more information and advice on the planning system and how to use it to defend your local wildlife.

If you are a developer

  • Check what species may be on your site using Natural England’s Standing Advice for Protected Species.

  • Contact the local Ecological Record Centre for existing data (there is a fee for any commercial work), also check online for previous applications in the area which may have conducted surveys.

  • Talk to local residents where possible to get an idea of any issues such as flooding or wildlife sightings that may be relevant in future.

  • Plan surveys in advance – most are limited to a certain season and timescale, and consultants get very busy!

  • Engage a reputable Ecology Consultant – use members of the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM). Members are listed on their website, you can also use ENDS directory.

Planning news

For up to date information on our planning responses and successes please see our Latest News section.


For more information contact Sara Robin ( or Lauren Garside (


FilenameFile size
Planning for a healthy environment: good practice for green infrastructure and biodiversity7.02 MB
Fit to Frack - summary report1.26 MB
Secret Spaces: Status of Local Wildlife Sites 2014741.1 KB
Status of Local Wildlife Sites Report4.21 MB
Statutory designations118.51 KB
Amphibians 223.36 KB
Applications 128.52 KB
Badger 179.91 KB
Barn Owls 241.22 KB
Bats and Habitats 205.06 KB
Bats and Turbines 191.71 KB
Birds and Law156.68 KB
Hedgerows212.53 KB
Non Statutory Designations156.44 KB
Otters and Water Voles 206.5 KB
Planning Guidance160.9 KB
Protected Species 217.16 KB
Reptiles 166.54 KB
Woodlands 368.65 KB
Neighbourhood Plans231.72 KB