Introducing the Oxfordshire Plan 2050

Comment ID 1059
Document Section Introducing the Oxfordshire Plan 2050 INTRODUCTION (no name) View all on this section
Respondent Jane Durney View all by this respondent
Response Date 27 Mar 2019

Thank you for consulting the Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust (BBOWT) on the Oxfordshire Plan 2050 (consultation period: 11 February to 25 March 2019).

Established in 1959, BBOWT has now grown to be the largest and most influential voluntary conservation organisation in the region concerned with all aspects of nature conservation. BBOWT has over 50,000 members and 1,800 volunteers. We own or manage 87 nature reserves, totalling over 2,600 ha. Our vision is an environment rich in wildlife, valued by all. Our mission is to create a Living Landscape across our towns, cities and countryside, and inspire our communities to act for nature.

As a wildlife organisation, our comments will be restricted to matters associated with the protection and enhancement of biodiversity.

BBOWT responded to the Oxfordshire JSSP Sustainability Appraisal Scoping Report Consultation on 18 February 2019. We repeat here some of the comments made in that response.

In summary, we welcome the emphasis on the natural environment in the plan but, given the decline in Oxfordshire’s natural environment in recent decades, which mirrors the state of the nature nationally, we believe that the ambition in the Oxfordshire Plan 2050 should go further. The scale of development proposed is immense. We would like to see the plan seek to restore and enhance the natural environment at a scale that matches the scale of development.

This would be consistent with the government’s stated aim in the 25 Year Environment Plan to improve the environment within a generation and to leave it in a better state than we found it. The 25 Year Environment Plan sets the ambition "that new development should result in net environmental gain – with neglected or degraded land returned to health and habitats for wildlife restored or created". At this point, there is no agreed way of measuring net environmental gain, although measuring net biodiversity gain using the Defra Biodiversity Metric is well understood.