Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust has outlined its vision for the county’s urban areas, to ensure wildlife habitats are protected and people have access to nature on their doorsteop.
The trust says the document, Transforming our towns and city for people and nature, highlights the inequality of access to nature, the plight of species under threat and people’s desire for change and calls on Government, planners and politicians to take a nature-first approach to planning and investment.
It also hopes the vision will ‘act as a rallying call to communities to take action in response to the nature and climate crises’.
Paul Wilkinson, trust chief executive, said: “Our shared experience over the past two years has highlighted people must have access to wildlife-rich greenspaces on their doorstep.
“Sadly, access to nature isn’t equal and many people living in urban areas have little opportunity to experience and benefit from nature close to home.
“In many areas the endless pressure to build yet more homes that don’t necessarily meet local need is making matters worse. Remaining greenspaces and wild habitats are disappearing and developers are doing little to restore nature.”
“It’s time to take a stand. Wildlife, including species once common in urban areas are in decline and without a change of approach, people living in our towns are likely to have less and less access to nature in the future.
“We want to see our towns transformed from grey to green.
"The environment must be at the heart of policy, not an afterthought.
“By replacing barren greenspaces with a network of habitat to support nature’s recovery we can create urban oases, bring people together and put nature into recovery at a time when natural greenspace has never been more valued or needed.”
The document sets out a number of ideas for change including:
• A commitment from councils to protect remaining wildlife habitats and ensure that new areas are set aside for nature;
• Fairer access to nature, with the adoption of minimum standards for people’s access to natural greenspaces;
• All developments striving to deliver a 20 per cent increase in nature;
• Councils to plan ahead by identifying new areas where nature could be restored to help deal with climate change, benefit species and improve health and wellbeing.
Mr Wilkinson said: “The trust is rooted in the community and supports campaigners’ efforts to protect nature on their patch.
“We can sense a real appetite for change and a sense of momentum and we’re committed to providing advice, support and encouragement to individuals, schools and other groups keen to take action for nature and climate in their own lives or within their community.
“Communities are no longer prepared to sit back and watch remaining wild areas and greenspaces disappear. They want to see leadership from decision-makers to tackle the nature and climate crisis and their voices to be heard.
“They are also increasingly willing to take action themselves and we’re committed to helping support and encourage them as part of a people-powered nature recovery.”