(c) Tom Blackwell

Positive planning to protect wildlife


Development can cause serious harm to wildlife but it does not have to. Development can also 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 support wildlife and create new habitat.

Commenting on planning applications
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.

How we prioritise responses
We put a great deal of effort into strategic or forward planning such as Local Development Plans where local councils will put new developments in the future. In this way we 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 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. Insist on strong policies to protect wildlife,
  • Respond to consultations 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, or protect existing natural areas. See our forward planning factsheet below.
  • Respond to planning applications you think could damage wildlife, or have the potential to create more areas for wildlife. Let your local councillors and those on the planning committee know why you are objecting.
  • Make a note of animals and plants that are present in your local area and tell the data centre.


For more information contact:

Sara Robin ( for North Yorkshire and York.

Laura Hobbs ( for South, West and East Yorkshire.