Our Volunteer Wildlife and Habitats Protectors work within our Planning Team. Our work seems more important than ever, given our current world-wide intertwined Biodiversity Emergency and Climate Change Emergency.
Our aims are the same as any other kind of Nature Conservation volunteering – to avoid or minimise damage to habitats and wildlife, and to enhance habitats and wildlife, wherever possible.
We monitor Planning Applications in Clackmannanshire Council and Stirling Council every week, picking out the applications of concern for wildlife reasons, anything from roof-work or demolition that may affects bats, to major new site developments and infrastructure. We then research each site of concern and decide how to respond - what wildlife information to highlight and what recommendations to make.
We do the same kind of weekly monitoring, researching and responding for Proposals for new Forestry/Woodland and for a variety of other Forest Management proposals, including Felling/Restocking. These are dealt with through Scottish Forestry’s Regulatory System.
Researching any site involves reading the application documents and maps, online research using various databases/mapping tools, and sometimes a site visit too. We also have a circle of very knowledgeable and helpful local naturalists whom we can contact for additional information.
We run our own training events to meet the needs of Team members, including new recruits. Examples here:
Our work is a Team effort. Most members have a specific role, whether small or large, but we also share out work, and help each other with research or ideas.
Our responses go out on behalf of our Team. Occasionally we Object outright to an application (with approval from SWT HQ). More often, we make recommendations about avoiding or minimising potential adverse impacts of a proposal, and we also include recommendations for enhancing biodiversity.
It’s a different approach from many kinds of Nature Conservation work, but it is Wildlife and Habitat Protection, and it is Standing Up for Nature.