While it is devastating to see so many wild places impacted by planning proposals, we are unfortunately not able to oppose every individual proposal. Instead, we focus our work on a strategic level to influence changes in planning to protect wildlife. To do this we seek to work with, rather than against, Local Authorities in our region to help bring wildlife back through nature recovery networks and our nature reserves. Recent examples of this are the leading roles played by AWT in the declarations of an ecological emergency by B&NES, Bristol City Council and North Somerset Council.
It’s important for us to have good, positive relationships with local authorities so that we can continue to make changes in our area through open dialogue. We have regular, open communications with B&NES as well as with other local authorities in the region and we have never felt pressured by B&NES council in any instance. Our approach gives us more impact in places where we do oppose strategic local plans, as we did last year with key aspects of the West of England Joint Spatial Plan.
Senior representatives of any organisation, including specifically the Trustees of charities, must at all times act in a way which is in the best interests of the organisation and consistently with the way in which the organisation projects itself. For us, this includes acting in a way likely to maintain good relationships with key partners like Local Authorities.
We have discussed with Bob the style and potential impact of some of his recent public statements. We have no wish to restrict or restrain Bob’s freedom of expression, and Bob has made his own decision to step down as an AWT Trustee. We thank Bob for everything he has done to stand up for nature and wildlife, and wish him well for the future. We will continue to work toward our common objective to restore nature in our region.