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New guide for sustainable house building

New guide highlights the need for biodiversity to be considered at the early stages of planning home developments in order to reduce carbon emissions, encourage wildlife, and help reverse habitat decline.

The impact of COVID-19 has shown the need for more accessible green and nature rich space.

Over the last 50 years 58% of UK species have declined, and urbanisation is considered to be a key cause of this decrease due to the challenge it poses to local wildlife.

The continued expansion of urban area acts as a challenging place for wildlife as it tackles with air, noise and light pollution, traffic, and fragmented habitats.

The National House Building Council Foundation has partnered with the RSPB and Barratt Developments to produce guidance on how the house building industry can integrate green infrastructure into new build homes to help enhance and protect biodiversity within developments whilst also delivering wider public health benefits.

In September last year, The UK Prime Minister committed to protecting 30% of UK land to help boost biodiversity. Recently, Johnson stated he will make “tackling climate change and biodiversity loss” the government’s “number one international priority”.

The new report: ‘Biodiversity in new housing developments – creating wildlife-friendly communities’ has just been launched providing guidance on planning for nature rich places and answers how developers can enhance and protect biodiversity. Key topics include:

  • Ensuring boundaries enable hedgehogs to move freely through a housing development.
  • Implementing Sustainable Drainage Systems (SuDS) which mimic natural processes in managing rainfall through the use of landscape form and vegetation.
  • Installing roost bricks for bats and designing lighting plans in a bat-friendly way
  • Putting in bird nest bricks that provide permanent nest features for declining species such as swifts.

Beccy Speight, CEO at RSPB said: “The housebuilding industry is uniquely placed in having an opportunity to create not just sustainable houses, but new, sustainable communities, where people thrive alongside wildlife. This guide is a great introduction to the principles and practicalities of creating wildlife-friendly communities and a great addition to the sustainable housing toolkit.

“I hope that the industry will embrace it and help to drive positive change. We all have our part to play as we seek to revive our world.”

Richard Smith, NHBC’s head of standards, innovation and research added: “In a year so focused on health, this report is a timely reminder of the many benefits nature can provide when successfully integrated into new homes and developments.”


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