Spalding Associates were pleased to initiate, help organise and sponsor a major conference on planning and biodiversity in Cornwall. The conference was the brainchild of Adrian, based on nearly 20 years’ experience of working within the planning system in Cornwall and elsewhere. We worked with Natasha Collings-Costello (Cornwall Council), Nick Coppin (freelance ecologist) and Jenny Stuart (Cornwall Environmental Consultants Ltd) to organise the conference, with additional sponsorship from CIEEM and Cornwall Council and support from Cornwall Wildlife Trust and the Royal Town Planning Institute. It was convened to bring planners, ecologists and landscape architects together, to inform, inspire and explore how these professions can work together to protect and enhance biodiversity in Cornwall and to share best practice, against the background of a rapid pace of change
The conference was introduced by Cllr Edwina Hannaford – Cornwall Council Portfolio Holder for Planning and the Environment. She outlined the current work of the Council on the Cornwall Local Plan and the Environmental Growth Strategy and explained that maintaining and expanding biodiversity is a cornerstone of the Strategy, to enable economic growth that enhances natural capital. She was introduced by Phil Mason, Head of Planning and Enterprise for Cornwall Council, who emphasised the need for environmental considerations to be fully built into the planning process in order to deliver good quality on the ground development. The morning session was chaired by David Edmondson – Strategic Development Manager for Cornwall Council. The main introductory presentation was by Adrian, who explained the purpose of the conference, why biodiversity is important and the role of the planning process in controlling the key threats to biodiversity and delivering biodiversity enhancement; he especially highlighted the value of coherent ecological networks at the landscape scale and the need for an appreciation of the landscape
function and history of all development sites. Carried out properly, ecological assessments will contribute to the success of development projects.
Other key presentations were by Nick Coppin (how biodiversity fits into the legislative and policy context), Jenny Stuart (the scope and application of best practice and related guidance and standards), Gary Lewis and Adrian (the work of the local records centre and its contribution to the planning process) and Sarah Jennings (on the processes established by Devon County Council for ecological assessments). A range of case studies were also presented, including two from Spalding Associates:
- Domestic scale bat mitigation by Simon Barnard
- Trembling Sea Mat mitigation by Catriona Neil.
We were very pleased to have Lord Matthew Taylor (Chair of the National Housing Federation) present who chaired the panel question time session. The conference was a great success with a full house of 160 delegates; as one delegate wrote afterwards “a truly inspiring, extremely well attended conference.”
Posters presented at the conference by Spalding Associates: