Six weeks after the Conservative’s election victory, ministers hit their stride in June with announcements of major changes to planning and energy policy. Based on the government’s election manifesto, there are likely to be further substantial changes to follow, as the weight of responsibility for major planning decisions is passed increasingly to local communities. There is no doubting the political appetite to devolve planning powers back to the people who will experience the effect of development. Given the complexity of technical and financial issues involved in such decisions, however, it remains to be seen how the planning system will be able to adapt to deliver essential growth in a cost effective and sustainable manner.
This month’s news round up includes an eclectic mix of items, ranging from memories of the French landscape 75 years after the Dunkirk evacuation, to feedback from the Triodos Renewables family fun day at Avonmouth wind farm, which kicked off Bristol’s Big Green Week. Landmark Ecologists have been working long hours during the height of the summer survey season (one of the (few?) advantages of leaving a warm bed at 2 am for a dawn survey is the chance sighting of rare and elusive species like otter). The sunshine has brought out another rare species at Landmark as more of the team dust off their bikes to cycle to and from work – although we’ve yet to find a way of loading up essential survey equipment on the back wheel!