Thursday, April 18, 2024

Blogpost: Thurrock councillor has a bee in his bonnet

By Luke Spillman

I’VE definitely got a bee 🐝 in my bonnet over biodiversity. The variety of living animals, insects and plants in Thurrock should be important to everyone.

The most positive commitments within the Local Plan consultation are the series of 20% increase in biodiversity commitments within each of the development areas.
However, the local plan does not make it clear that this commitment may not be all that it seems. There is no clarity on whether this would actually deliver an increase in biodiversity within Thurrock. When I questioned officers on this very issue in December they confirmed that biodiversity credits may be used instead.

We need a commitment from Thurrock Council that it will not seek to achieve these increases by allowing housing developers to offset by buying diversity credits. This would allow firms building on greenbelt in Thurrock to buy into schemes where biodiversity is increased elsewhere in the country, or even in other nations, and used to meet the Thurrock targets.

I’m firmly of the view that any developer given a green light to destroy precious greenbelt habitat in Thurrock should be forced to replace this habitat elsewhere within Thurrock .

As an Ockendon Councillor I am firmly on record that I won’t be voting for any future local plan that includes the current two options for Ockendon within it. I regard both options as entirely unsustainable in terms of traffic management and infrastructure. However, no-one should support any future local plan that includes any shameless biodiversity credit sleight of hand.

Please remember that the local plan consultation closes on the 19th February. If you haven’t already, please complete this consultation. Whether you are for or against the proposals please join me in insisting that any natural habitat lost in Thurrock is replaced in Thurrock. It really is the most important Council consultation you will ever get the opportunity to engage with. You can find the consultation here:

https://www.thurrock.gov.uk/new-local-plan-for-thurrock/thurrock-local-plan

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