Wirral green and blue infrastructure consultation
CPRE Cheshire’s response highlights the importance of the Green Belt on the Wirral peninsula.
CPRE Cheshire is most interested in Wirral Council’s Green and Blue Infrastructure (GBI) and recently responded to a survey on the local plan consultation hub.
We highlighted the important role of Wirral Borough’s ‘Natural Capital’. We provided links to up-to-date advice from the Committee on Climate Change, which advises the Government on how best respond to the climate emergency. Of particular relevance is a report to Government published on the 25th June 2020 setting out the role of different Government Departments. It is so important to understand the Department for Farming and Rural Affairs and the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government roles in planning future development to best support GBI goals.
We referred the consultants to the work of Nature Connect, the Local Nature Partnership for Liverpool City Region. The LNP partners are engaged in all things GBI. Natural England are of particular reference and the work on National Character Area Profiles numbers 59 and 58 are relevant: http://publications.naturalengland.org.uk/file/6268365299515392
Key threats identified were the impacts of the climate emergency, and overdevelopment of Wirral Borough proposed in the emerging local plan based on a flawed approach to the housing requirement calculation. We instead recommended the Council use the ONS 2018 based data and make the case to Government why it should. The Birkenhead Regeneration Strategy should be prioritised to make the most of previously developed land. There are no exceptional circumstances to release Green Belt land. Opportunities to provide better access to the countryside for everyone enjoyment was highlighted. New development must yield developer contributions for GBI and be based on best practice in terms of neutral greenhouse gas emissions and biodiversity net gain.
CPRE wants the countryside of Wirral Borough – and indeed, the whole of the peninsula – to be best promoted, protected and enhanced in the future for everyone’s enjoyment and health and well-being benefits.