Land use

Land use

© Clive Chatters

Choices about what we do with our countryside are having a huge impact on wildlife. We are the only charity dedicated to standing up for wildlife in our two counties, making sure that nature is protected in planning, farming and other policies.


Planning and development

People and wildlife both need space to live and thrive. While new homes are needed, by focusing narrowly on housing numbers, we miss out on creating much needed places that are good for both nature and people.

This poses a big threat to our wildlife - over the past century we have lost natural habitats on an unprecedented scale. And our lives and communities are poorer for it.

We want to see bigger, better and more joined up spaces for wildlife, and developments giving back more to nature than they take. To do this we:

  • Respond to consultations on strategic planning documents and talk directly to local authorities and developers, to make sure wildlife is protected
  • Undertake or provide into research and evidence to inform these plans.
  • Work with partners like other Wildlife Trusts and other nature conservation partners to get the best deal for wildlife

Your local planning authority

To find information on your local authority and to view planning applications, search for your Council on the Planning Portal website.

Planning advice

For free, independent and professional planning advice, including Planning Jargon Buster and guidance on how to get involved in the planning application process, visit Planning Aid England.

Wildlife crime

The Wildlife Trust has no legal power to stop any direct threats to wildlife. If you believe a protected species or habitat is under immediate threat please contact your local police station via 101 and ask to speak to a Wildlife Crimes Officer. Read more about contacting the Hampshire Constabulary, who cover both counties. 


To contact our Planning team, please email

Barton Meadows nature reserve

© Elspeth Green

Gains for wildlife

We campaigned to get new habitat created for wildlife, as part of the Kings Barton development near Winchester. The result is that we're now converting two arable fields to chalk grassland meadows, one of the biggest habitat creation schemes of this type in the local area.

Farming and agriculture

Over 70% of our land surface is dedicated to food production, it's important that we work with government and land managers to show how wildlife-friendly farming can be done. We believe farmers should be rewarded for giving benefits like clean air, water and wildlife to our society, and this can be done through a well-designed new public subsidy system after we leave the European Union.

We work with farmers to expand and protect important wildlife habitats and create links between them allowing wildlife to move across our countryside. This includes:

  • Expert and impartial advice on applying for funding for wildlife-friendly farming
  • Advice on land management and habitat restoration
  • Workshops on topics like soil and nutrient management to help wildlife

To find out more about commissioning professional advice from us, please contact our consulting subsidiary, Arcadian Ecology.

Shirley Farm Bransgore SSSI after our advice work

Helping land managers in the New Forest

Since 2010 we have supported up to 250 farmers, commoners and landowners in the New Forest with independent advice on looking after land for wildlife, through the New Forest Land Advice partnership. 

More on our work on land use