PPS 2: Planning and Nature Conservation
Aims, Approach and Objectives
8. The Government has accepted the concept of sustainable development as a guiding principle in environmental issues and in its 1994 publication "Sustainable Development: The UK Strategy", described it as follows:
"Responsibility for the environment is not solely the preserve of Government. The principles of sustainable development require the responsible use of man-made and natural resources by all concerned in a way that ensures that future generations are not left worse off... Sustainable development does not mean having less economic development... Nor does it mean that every aspect of the present environment should preserved at all costs. What it requires is that all decisions.... are taken with proper regard to their environmental impact".1
9. Government has also encouraged the conservation of habitats and species in the UK. Following the Government signing of the Biodiversity Convention in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, Biodiversity: The UK Action Plan was launched in 1994. This led to the Biodiversity: the UK Steering Group Report published in 1995 which has been endorsed by the Government. The Steering Group Report includes action plans for a number of key habitats and species indicating the future conservation direction for all habitats through specifying targets and actions.
10. If Northern Ireland is to develop in a sustainable way, accommodating economic diversity and conserving its natural heritage, then environmental and economic development strategies must be closely integrated and mutually supportive. This approach is underlined in the joint Department of the Environment/Department of Economic Development publication "Growing a Green Economy" (March 1993).
11. The Department will strive to ensure the effective conservation of wildlife and natural features as important elements of a clean and healthy natural environment whilst making adequate provision for development and economic growth. Attractive environments, where attention is given to nature conservation, are essential to social and economic well being. With careful planning and control, conservation and development can be compatible.
12. The conservation of nature is of particular significance in Northern Ireland given its rich natural heritage of wildlife habitats, geological features and landforms, including some of international importance. There is also a considerable diversity of plant and animal species. It is important that this natural heritage be conserved for future generations.
13. The Government's aims for nature conservation are:-
- to ensure that its policies contribute to conservation of the abundance and diversity of the United Kingdom's wildlife and its habitats;
- to minimise the adverse effects on wildlife, where conflict of interest is unavoidable; and
- to meet its international responsibilities and obligations for nature conservation.
1 Sustainable Development: The UK Strategy, Cm 2426 (January 1994).