29 January 2013
Terence O'Rourke and Natural England are working in partnership to explore how the considerations of the Habitats Regulations can be incorporated more efficiently and effectively into the delivery of development projects.
Establishing the principles of good, joint working will assist Natural England in improving business relationships and help the industry create sustainable development proposals.
The joint working initiative follows a Government Review by Defra in 2011 of the implementation of the Habitats and Wild Birds Directive. The review was aimed at streamlining the planning process and improving communication between regulatory bodies and developers. Among its recommendations were that Natural England should establish interchange arrangements with businesses to improve partnership working.
Natural England and Terence O'Rourke, a planning, design and environmental practice, have held two joint workshops in London in response to this recommendation; one addressing business relationships in the renewable energy sector, the other in the housing sector. Both sessions explored the technical and cultural aspects of a good working relationship between Natural England and industry, using case studies and examples of best practice, and with a particular focus on the understanding and application of the Habitats Regulations.
The workshops generated significant benefits for Natural England and Terence O’Rourke, bringing greater understanding of how industry can navigate smoothly through environmental laws with the help of a more co-operative, solution-orientated Natural England.
The success of the interchange programme has resulted in direct contributions to a stakeholder round-table discussion hosted by Defra ministers on 29th November. Lord de Mauley, Defra Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Resource Management, the Local Environment and Environmental Science, emphasised that economic growth remained a Government priority. The interchange programme will contribute to this by establishing closer working relationships aimed at producing high-quality, sustainable developments that deliver growth and safeguard the natural environment.
Terence O'Rourke is an award winning planning, design and environmental practice, integrating these skills to help deliver exceptional projects across a wide range of sectors which include: office / logistics, education, energy, infrastructure, leisure and tourism, industry and R&D, public private partnerships and Local Asset Backed Vehicles (LABVs), regeneration, residential including large scale schemes, specialist and bespoke housing and retail and town centre developments.
Natural England is the government’s independent adviser on the natural environment. It has a statutory role in the planning process aimed at supporting sustainable development: ensuring developments meet European law (the Habitats Regulations), assessing the impact on sites environmentally protected under law and advising planning authorities and developers.