New benchmark for ‘nature-friendly’ housing

1 August 2017

In the first national scheme to place conservation at the heart of house-building, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) has drawn up a blueprint for nature-friendly development.

A new project in Aylesbury Vale, Buckinghamshire, will preserve green spaces including orchards, newt ponds, nestboxes for bats, owls and swifts, and include 250 acres of wildlife-rich open space, accessible to residents.

With 2,450 new homes, schools and community facilities, the development is designed to lay down principles for future projects, such as guidance for planting and landscaping, to enhance wildlife habitats.

‘With hundreds of thousands of homes needed in the next few years, now is the time for conservationists and homebuilders to pull together, to ensure that wildlife is boosted rather than ousted in the process,’ said Mike Clarke, chief executive of the RSPB. ‘We are confident that many positive steps can be taken to build wildlife into new housing developments, giving nature and people a home and increasing quality of life, relatively simply and cheaply.’

An estimated 60 per cent of bees, birds, insects and mammals in the UK are currently facing declining numbers.

The partnership drawn up between RSPB and housebuilders will include collaboration on supply chain management, raising awareness of wildlife-friendly practices and having an RSPB expert on biodiversity advising developers.