Wednesday, 11 February 2015

How to defend green space

Do a Bioblitz, record all the species of conservation concern , build a case for protection (ref to existing policies-), form alliance with local community groups who share interest in protecting site, get attention via local media/social networking to build support, , feed the protection case into public consultation stage of the developers planning application, meet with the planning officer directly (he/she is the one with the real power, the planning report generally dictates what will occur not the decision of the councillors) encourage conservation NGOs and other groups, individuals to comment on application and then present case at development control committee (mainly for cosmetic and publicity purposes). If you're lucky the planning officer will recommend that they put a little wildlife corner within the scheme, a wildflower strip, some bird boxes and call it something like Barn Owl Estate. The DCC will go for that and wave it through (you might get lucky and have someone influential within the local authority who opposes the development) . If no such luck and you want to stop it altogether then you'll need to take it further-about 30K minimum (quite achievable to raise via group funding/sponsors/ wealthy interested parties etc) ,get lucky with a sympathetic judge to permit the legal challenge (or one who wants the legal sector get their pound of flesh from the development), a good legal team (to scrutinise the planning officers report for technical errors and then build a judicial review against the planning decision). You'll also need a court protection order from the Aarhus convention (to limit your liability but expose the developer to potentially crippling costs defending themselves)and a group of eco-warriors to occupy the site over a sustained period if that fails. By dragging the developer into the legal and direct action route could incur crippling costs on the developer/local authority that make the project collapse. Basically whoever runs out of money and/or will first loses. Simples.

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