Everyone should have the opportunity to enjoy a fine natural environment. Green Balance works to nurture our surroundings for the wildlife, landscape, cultural and other social benefits they provide as well as for their direct contribution to life support through food, energy, water and materials. We promote good practice in managing the natural world and are always looking for opportunities for improvement.
A growing population will increase the pressure for food supply, particularly from the best farmland. Our report Valuing the Land: planning for the best and most versatile agricultural land for the Campaign to Protect Rural England (2000) showed that sound policy intentions to protect this farmland often took low priority in practice, with other environmental qualities attracting greater attention. Partly as a result, the Government did not proceed with a Cabinet Office proposal to prioritise the protection of areas of ‘high environmental value’ instead of the best farmland (report available from CPRE, 5-11 Lavington Street, London SE1 0NZ).
Our research into The potential contribution of the mineral extraction industries to the UK Biodiversity Action Plan for English Nature (and minerals trade organisations) (Research report 279, 1998), with AERC Ltd, included 16 detailed case examples from quarries around England. This was a pioneering report in advance of much greater attention to biodiversity in the minerals sector. A subsequent report for English Nature Establishing the relationship between Designated Sites, and active and dormant mineral extraction permissions in England (with Land Use Consultants, 2006) studied more closely the overlap between wildlife sites and permissions for mineral extraction. This included an analysis of powers to review mineral sites through Planning, Environment and Habitats legislation.
We were commissioned by Kent County Council to advise on Making Biodiversity Relevant: Exploring the Links between Biodiversity Conservation and Social, Cultural and Economic Agendas, (2001). Rather than identify the financial value of biodiversity or other messages, this report concentrated instead on mechanisms – which could be used to raise biodiversity up the political agenda and legitimise it more, mainly in local government.
Green Balance provides readable, practical guidance on how to protect and promote aspects of the natural world. This has ranged from handbooks for everyone to use to high-level advice on campaign strategies for national interest groups such as the Woodland Trust and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB). Policy and legislation change over time, but the principles set out in our older guidance remain fresh today.
Our Campaigners’ Guide to Trees and Woods for the Campaign to Protect Rural England (1996) is an action guide to help people nurture trees and woods in both rural and urban settings. It describes the procedures for controlling and influencing tree planting, tree felling and the sound environmental management of trees, and how to use the opportunities effectively.
Planning for Wildlife: a practical guide for WWF-UK (1997) shows how to use the planning system to help wildlife. It explains how to influence decisions on the protection of species, habitats and natural features. By pulling together relevant legislation, national policy and case studies in one place, it provides a handbook for influencing plan-making and decisions on individual development proposals.
‘Community Strategies’ were introduced by the Government in 2000 requiring local authorities to promote and improve the quality of life in their areas. Our booklet Natural Communities for English Nature, RSPB and The Wildlife Trusts (2001) showed how conserving wildlife and improving the natural environment could be key ingredients in the process.