Under threat – Scottish brownfield bugs

Wednesday 17th July 2013

The Scottish Government is reviewing national planning policy that guides all planning decisions. Help us make sure that sites valuable for invertebrates are recognised and protected from future development.

Paragraph 46 of the new policy, called Scottish Planning Policy or SPP, states:

‘the spatial strategy should encourage the redevelopment or reuse of vacant and derelict land, and planning authorities should make use of land assembly and compulsory purchase powers where appropriate. Where a vacant and derelict site does not have potential for redevelopment as part of the spatial strategy, either because the location is unsuitable or development is unlikely to be viable, the planning authority should consider its potential contribution to green infrastructure’

Speak up for wildlife by writing to the Scottish Government. Ask them to protect brownfield sites of high wildlife value. We only have until 23rd July 2013 to let them know how important these sites can be.

We have not drafted a letter for you as your response will have more impact if it is written in your own words. Please use the points below to base your letter on but you can add your own reasons for protecting brownfields and why this is important to you. There is more background information if you scroll down the page.

In your letter make sure you request that:
•Paragraph 46 of Scottish Planning Policy specifically recognises that some brownfield sites are not suitable for development, as they are of high wildlife value. These sites should be excluded from development.
•Local authorities identify high value brownfield land within their local authority area and ensure it is protected.

1.Many brownfield sites have high ecological value. Research has shown that some brownfield sites may be home to as many species of conservation concern as ancient woodland.
2.These sites are often used informally for recreational activities such as walking, cycling and horse riding. There is great potential to make many of these sites more accessible, safe and enjoyable through imaginative planning and positive management. In turn this will bring attendant quality of life and health benefits to residents, as well as economic benefits.
3.Not all brownfield sites are of high ecological value. A strategic view can be taken regarding the redevelopment of vacant and derelict land, identifying and then holding back sites of biodiversity importance to allow less valuable sites to be bought forward and developed first.

Send your email or letter by 23rd July.

E-mail to: [email protected]

Post to: National Planning Framework Team, FREEPOST RTCT-TULH-UKJY, Scottish Government Planning and Architecture Division Area 2-J, South Victoria Quay, Edinburgh EH6 6QQ.

Don't forget to let us know you've taken action – email [email protected] with a copy of your letter. Thanks!

Background – brownfield land, an undervalued resource for biodiversity and people

The rich industrial heritage of Scotland has resulted in over 10,000 hectares of land being listed as vacant or derelict. These so-called ‘brownfield’ sites can be incredibly important for wildlife and it has long been recognised that these sites may have as many rare and endangered invertebrate species as ancient woodland. At least 194 invertebrate species of conservation importance have been recorded from brownfield sites in the UK – this includes 50% of rare solitary bees and wasps and 35% of rare ground beetles.

Some of the 10,000 hectares of land listed as vacant or derelict is of high value for wildlife. Protection of this resource should not impact on regeneration and development. Indeed, it can play a vital part in providing much needed urban greenspace and act as ‘stepping stones’ helping wildlife to move in and around urban areas.

Many brownfield sites are used informally for recreational activities – they might be the only green space to go and walk the dog, play football or simply to relax and try and escape our busy everyday lives. As well as being our short cut to school or town, they also help wildlife move in and around built up areas, providing places for animals to nest and feed.

There is great potential to make many of these sites more accessible, safe and enjoyable through imaginative planning and positive management. This, in turn, will bring attendant quality of life and health benefits to people, as well as economic gain.