Archive for October, 2008

The Birds and the Bees

No one organism on earth lives in isolation – each is dependent upon others to survive.  Hence, the duty falling upon public authorities in England and Wales pursuant to s40 Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006 is not simply the product of a Government trying to present green credentials – it is a serious attempt to protect mankind.

Clearance of sites for agricultural, housing, retail, office, industrial and leisure use comes at a cost to the natural environment.  It destroys or fragments the habitats of living organisms and is just one of the ways in which humans threaten the environmental balance on earth.

S40 states that all public authorities must have regard, so far as is consistent with the proper exercise of their functions, to the purpose of conserving biodiversity.  Compliance is to be monitored by DEFRA in 2009.  DEFRA has produced guidance for public authorities and it is quite clear that simply producing a biodiversity action plan will not be sufficient to satisfy the inspectors.

However, as the case of Regina (Buglife – the Invertebrate Conservation Trust) v Thurrock Thames Gateway Development Corporation [2008] EWHC 475 (Admin) indicates, some authorities will feel the tension between its duty to bring land into effective use (pursuant to s136 of the Local Government Planning and Land Act 1980) and its duty under the 2006 Act.  This case is pending a hearing in the Court of Appeal.

Are you employed by a public authority or do you act for one?  If so and you wish to hear more about biodiversity, why not contact Hatherleigh Training?