Telford and Wrekin scoops national award for championing biodiversity in planning
Telford & Wrekin Council has been named Planning Authority of the Year by the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM) at their 2021 awards ceremony.
The award celebrates planning authorities who are proactively championing biodiversity through the planning process.
The CIEEM said Telford & Wrekin Council took the title thanks to their ambition and delivery of plans, policies and strategies, sound decision-making in relation to development and biodiversity-related support, and development of staff involved in the planning process.
The council’s community outreach activities were also recognised in the judging process, along with a number of specific ecology-focussed planning initiatives.
These included its locally-led Great Crested Newt licensing scheme, its student placement scheme with Harper Adams University, an engagement campaign (My Wild Telford) to encourage residents to promote, share and celebrate the green spaces in the borough, and its work to empower local ‘Friends’ groups to better share knowledge, skills and capacity.
The CIEEM also referenced Telford & Wrekin Council’s focus on green spaces, noting that the authority has committed to protect more than 1,000 hectares of locally important green space in its ownership through its bespoke ‘Green Guarantee’ land management commitment and its Local Wildlife Site and Local Nature Reserve declaration processes.
Cllr Carolyn Healy, Cabinet Member for Climate Change, Green Spaces, Natural and Historic Environment, said:
“Our green spaces are a vital and much-loved part of our borough.
“Back in 2014, as a council we set a target to have 11 Local Nature Reserves, formally protected from future planning, across Telford and Wrekin by 2031.
“Now, ten years ahead of schedule, we have already exceeded our goal with a total of 13 Local Nature Reserves in our borough.
“As a result, we are looking to push our targets even higher, demonstrating our commitment to nature conservation, biodiversity and supporting local people’s enjoyment of wildlife.
“We have also just announced a £2m investment into our borough’s green and open spaces to support this agenda.
“One of our key priorities at Telford & Wrekin Council is that we protect our natural environment. This award is testament to the great work our teams have been doing to embed that mentality of ecological sustainability into our operations.
“Crucially, we are working collaboratively with community partners, across industry and with nearly 30 local ‘Friends’ groups who, together, help us care for and protect our borough’s hugely important green network.”
You can find local ecology updates and inspiration by following @My_Wild_Telford on Twitter.