Housing threat to nature network: Knepp Estate, West Sussex
A letter published in The Times newspaper today highlights the threat to the Knepp rewilding project from a proposed development of 3500 houses.
The letter, signed by 31 senior figures from the world of conservation, including Crispin Trueman, Chief Executive CPRE, urges the government to honour its commitment to develop Nature Recovery Networks and its pledge to ‘build ‘the right homes in the right places’.
The government’s 25 year Environment Plan (page 60) highlighted the Knepp Estate in West Sussex as a shining example of landscape-scale nature restoration. The pioneering rewilding project has reversed biodiversity loss; provided habitat for numerous endangered species; reintroduced species such as white storks; and restored the resilience of natural systems. In the 25 Year Environment Plan the government committed to developing a Nature Recovery Network with additional habitat and more effectively linking existing sites and landscape.
Now a site allocated by Horsham District Council for 3500 houses on the border of the Knepp rewilding project will split the potential Nature Recovery Area in two and prevent connectivity with other nature conservation areas.
The signatories to the letter state that housing policy has not caught up with the government’s commitment to a Nature Recovery Network, while councils are considering development on sites that will be key to such Networks.