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Newly published principles show how new homes can include nature

Some of the UK’s leading nature conservation charities have produced a blueprint showing how up to a million new homes can include nature to create happier and healthier communities for people and wildlife.

The new Nature’s Arc principles are for restoring and increasing nature in what is known as Oxford-Cambridge Arc. A recent RSPB and YouGov survey found that there was overwhelming support from the public for protesting and investing in natures as part of the UK’s recovering from coronavirus. With plans starting to take shape to build up to a million new homes in the Oxford-Cambridge Arc, conservationists are asking the government to look at this as the perfect opportunity to invest in nature, improve people’s lives and realise the green recovery by building the new nature friendly towns and communities for which there appears to be demand.

To show how this could be done, the Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire (WTBCN); Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust (BBOWT); the RSPB; and the Woodland Trust have jointly published a set of principles for protecting and restoring nature and tackling climate change as part of growth and development proposed for the Oxford-Cambridge Arc.

The Nature’s Arc principles emphasise the importance of access to nature and natural greenspace for the health, wellbeing, wealth and resilience of people and communities. Using these principles, Government can make a commitment to a new standard for sustainable development that will benefit wildlife, tackle climate change and build healthier neighbourhoods for people.

Jack Taylor, lead campaigner at the Woodland Trust says: “People have been connecting, or re-connecting, with nature so much more as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. They’ve found comfort and strength from daily walks in green spaces, rediscovering the joys of trees, woods and the wildlife within them. Our response to this crisis must take this into account.

“The Oxford-Cambridge Arc is still in its infancy. There’s a real opportunity here for Government, local authorities and developers to put nature first so it can be delivered without damage. This could be a model for development that respects, protects and restores nature, in particular vulnerable natural heritage like ancient woodland.”

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