We have been engaged in Eastleigh Borough Council’s emerging Local Plan since responding to the ‘Issues and Options’ consultation in February 2016. We are still gravely concerned that declines in wildlife are still happening locally and nationally and the 2016 State of Nature report highlights the urgency of addressing this issue, while the 2010 Making Space for Nature report by Sir John Lawton calls for ‘more, bigger, better and joined’ sites for biodiversity.
To this end we would wish to see a Local Plan for Eastleigh which recognises its wealth of wildlife as an asset and plans not only for its protection but for its enhancement. We would expect to see the Borough identify and utilise an objectively defined ecological network map, and policy and strategy for securing ‘net gains’ for biodiversity in line with the National Planning Policy Framework. The Borough Council has shown previous commitment in this area but we are disappointed that this now seems to be lacking.
Since 2016 we, along with other consultees, have been invited to, and attended, meetings hosted by Eastleigh Borough Council to discuss the emerging proposals and potential impacts on the suite of fragile and sensitive species and habitats present within the Borough.
In addition, the Trust’s consultancy has independently been carrying out surveys along the River Itchen in order to establish the current status of Southern Damselfly (Coenagrion mercuriale) and the suitability of some sites for habitat restoration in order to improve the resilience of the species (which is currently undergoing a dramatic decline) and address any identified potential adverse impacts – this objective assessment reflects over a decade’s worth of expertise on this species.