The partnership was presented with awards for excellence in planning for the natural environment, and for fostering strong collaboration between its partner organisations – the latter placing it first in the entire South East area.
Bird Aware Solent is comprised of 15 local authorities and four conservation groups, including Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust. It works to enable residential development and recreational activities to continue in the Solent region with minimal disturbance of our coastal bird species.
The Solent provides a nationally and internationally important over-wintering area for species like curlews, common redshanks, and dunlins. But it is also home to busy shipping lanes, recreational activities from dog-walking to kite-surfing, and densely populated urban developments. These factors, in addition to issues like coastal squeeze and loss of habitat, can put pressure on our feathered friends.
Our Wildlife Trust has been at the forefront of tackling these issues for more than 15 years, including through our involvement in Bird Aware Solent. The partnership works with housing developers, and those who use the coast for work or play, to minimise their impact on our coastal birds. Their team of rangers tour the region, providing guidance, collecting data, and encouraging low-impact behaviours.
Victoria Hills, Chief Executive of the Royal Town Planning Institute, remarked that Bird Aware Solent “provided a crucial response to protecting the birds whilst enabling continued residential development and open access to the coastline for visitors. It is wonderful to celebrate the role that planners will continue to do in delivering prosperous places for both communities and wildlife alike.”