According to a study done by the UK Centre of Ecology & Hydrology (UKCEH) urban development and tree planting programmes are responsible for 8,000 square kms of meadows and grassland being lost in the last 25 years; an area roughly as large as Suffolk and Sussex combined.
This was the first in-depth study of high resolution satellite images on the topic. The lead researcher on the study, Clare Rowland of UKCEH, said the study provided the most reliable picture to date of changes across the British landscape in recent years
These areas are undoubtedly important for wildlife.
Tom Fyans, campaigns and policy director at CPRE said that “Developers have been given free rein to build unaffordable, sprawling housing that make people far too car reliant. And this trend will worsen if the Government continues to pursue plans to deregulate the planning system".
Meadow, grassland and wildland is so important for wildlife, without these areas many species don't have their natural habitats to thrive in. Eradication and damage to natural habitats has resulted in the extinction of species around the world, such as the Indian Cheetah and the Chinese paddlefish. In the UK mountain hares were considered to be at risk of localised extinction due to over-hunting, Scottish parliament had to bring in legislation to try and stop these deaths.
Urban development is increasingly becoming more and more of an issue for wildlife, and with the government pushing the biggest drive for house building in over 70 years, we can only try and urge developers to build nature rich developments.
What you can do to help.
The CCW works to encourage nature rich developments and prevent the loss of wildlife habitats. We do this by appealing to local authorities and bringing the needs of wildlife to attention. We plan on creating factual reports on wildlife in affected areas to present to planning committees. You can help by donating to our efforts.