East Devon District, Teignbridge District and Exeter City Councils are working together to protect some of the most important sites for wildlife in Europe, including the Exe Estuary, Dawlish Warren and the East Devon Pebblebed Heaths.

Sustainable economic expansion is important, but the level of housing development (and consequential population growth) being planned across the area risks harming the special nature of those sites, largely due to the disturbance-sensitive nature of their wildlife.

The Conservation of Species and Habitats Regulations (2010) (as amended) (often referred to as the Habitat Regulations) set out a clear decision-making framework to ensure that internationally important wildlife sites are not harmed by development, except in exceptional circumstances.  Since housing is unlikely to qualify as exceptional, mitigation measures are needed to prevent harm to the wildlife sites and enable housing aspirations to be met.

The three councils have established a Habitat Regulations Executive Committee which is working with partners including Natural England, Clinton Devon Estates, the National Trust, the RSPB, the Exe Estuary Management Partnership and the Devon Wildlife Trust.

The work of the Committee is just beginning and the first meeting of the Executive will take place on 29th June 2016. This year, East Devon District Council is the administrative authority for the project, but this will rotate between authorities on an annual basis.

You can read more about the group and see the latest agenda here.

 

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Page updated 21 June 2016

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