Central Bedfordshire Pre-Submission Local Plan Consultation

Written by Jon Balaam on . Posted in News

In accordance with Regulation 19 of The Town and Country Planning (Local Planning) (England) Act 2012, Central Bedfordshire Council is publishing its Pre-submission Local Plan.  The consultation will begin Thursday 11th January 2018 for a period of six weeks until 5pm on Thursday 22nd February.

What is the Pre-submission Local Plan?

The Local Plan plans positively to shape Central Bedfordshire up to 2035. It identifies how many homes and jobs will be provided, outlines the strategy for growth and also sets out more detailed policies which will be used to determine planning applications. The Pre-submission Local Plan will ensure that the growth we need is delivered in the right place, is of the right character and quality, and is delivered with the supporting roads, schools and services such as health, as well as retail, leisure and community facilities. A number of supporting documents including the Sustainability Appraisal are being published alongside the Local Plan as technical documents. 

All of the documents will be available to view on the CBC website: (www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/localplan) from 10am on Thursday 11th January, and at the Council Offices in Chicksands (opening times from 8:30 to 17:00 Mon -Thurs and 8:30 – 16:00 on Friday). In addition, the Local Plan will be available to view at the Customer Service Centres in Biggleswade and Leighton Buzzard, and the main libraries across Central Bedfordshire (opening times vary).

You can submit feedback online by following the links on the CBC website at www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/localplan or in writing to CBC at:

Local Plan
Central Bedfordshire Council
Priory House
Monks Walk
SG17 5TQ

The Bedfordshire LNP has been consulted as a statutory consultee and will be submitting a response, please contact Jon Balaam (jon.balaam@greensandtrust.org) by Friday 9th February if you would like to flag any issues or points you feel the LNP should be including within its representation.  Please note the LNP representation will be strategic in nature and will not go into specific details, and resources for collating and producing comments are limited, so please be as concise as possible and highlight the top 5 key issues or points you wish to make.

What happens next?

Following the consultation, CBC will collate all representations they receive and these will be forwarded to the independent Planning Inspector alongside the Local Plan at Submission in accordance with regulation 22 of The Town and Country Planning (Local Planning) (England) Act 2012.

Government Publishes 25 Year Environment Plan

Written by Jon Balaam on . Posted in News

In a major speech today, the Prime Minister has launched the government’s landmark 25 Year Environment Plan, setting out how we will improve the environment over a generation by creating richer habitats for wildlife, improving air and water quality and curbing the scourge of plastic in the world’s oceans.

“A Green Future: Our 25 Year Plan to Improve the Environment” sets out how over the next quarter of a century the government will:

  • Crackdown on plastics by eliminating all avoidable plastic waste through extending the 5p plastic bag charge to small retailers, removing consumer single use plastics from the government estate, supporting the water industry to significantly increase water fountains and working with retailers on introducing plastic-free supermarket aisles.
  • Help wildlife thrive by creating 500,000 hectares of new habitat for endangered species, supporting farmers to turn fields into meadows and other habitats, replenishing depleted soils and providing £5.7 million to kick-start a new Northern Forest
  • Be a world leader in environmental protection by investigating the feasibility of an anti-poaching taskforce to tackle the illegal wildlife trade, committing overseas aid to help developing nations combat plastic waste, and extending the UK’s network of marine protected areas
  • Deliver a Green Brexit by consulting on a new environmental watchdog to hold government to account for environmental standards, and setting out a new approach to agriculture and fisheries management
  • Seek to embed a ‘net environmental gain’ principle so development delivers environmental improvements locally and nationally, enabling housing development without increasing overall burdens on developers
  • Connect people with nature by creating ‘nature friendly schools’ and reviewing National Parks to see how they can improve and whether the network should be extended.

For more information and to access the Plan please see:


The Bedfordshire LNP has recently joined the DEFRA LNP sounding board, and will be taking part in a teleconference which is likely to focus on the delivery of the Plan and the role of LNPs very soon.


Consultation news

Written by Bryan Bland on . Posted in News, RSS Newsletter

Members of the Bedfordshire Local Nature partnership may find the following two consultations of interest:

Central Bedfordshire Draft Local Plan

The Local Plan sets out how Central Bedfordshire will develop over the next 20 years. It outlines the strategy for ensuring the growth we need is delivered in the right place, and is of the right character and quality. It also ensures that growth is delivered with the supporting roads, schools and services such as health, as well as retail, leisure and community facilities.

The Draft Local Plan for Central Bedfordshire was endorsed for publication by the Executive Committee on 20 June. The Draft Local Plan is available for public consultation from 4 July for an eight-week period – please see: http://www.centralbedfordshire.gov.uk/planning/policy/local-plan/local-plan.aspx

East-West Rail

Network Rail is currently consulting on elements of the East-West Rail project (including the stretch between Bedford and Bletchley) – this current public consultation closes on 11th August. http://www.eastwestrail.org.uk/public-consultation/



LNP Board seeks new members

Written by Bryan Bland on . Posted in News, RSS Newsletter

The Bedfordshire LNP is seeking two new Board members.  Barry Timms of Luton Borough Council has retired, and Nicola Scholfield from CPRE has moved on from her post.  We are seeking nominations from potential new Board members, and would be particularly interested to hear from anyone with knowledge and experience of the farming sector as this is a current gap in our Board’s skillset.

The Board meets four times a year, and Board membership is a real opportunity to help raise awareness of and shape Bedfordshire’s natural environment.

For further information please see the downloadable LNP_BoardNominationForm_2017 and the LNP website: www.bedfordshirenaturally.com

The Chairman and the Board would very much like to thank Nicola and Barry for their input into the Board and wish them well for the future.


Natural Capital Investment Plan underway

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The Bedfordshire LNP, as lead in a federation of four LNPs, has been awarded a grant of £25,000 from DEFRA to develop a Natural Capital Investment Plan for the Oxford-Cambridge Growth Corridor.

The first step in the process took place recently with a workshop hosted by the South East Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP). Representatives from Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes, Northamptonshire, Cambridgeshire and Oxfordshire were joined by government agencies and key infrastructure providers to identify existing data sets and discuss the way forward. The workshop was extremely productive and paved the way for this exciting initiative.

For more information contact Jon Balaam, Beds LNP Facilitator, on 01234 744592 or email jon.balaam@greensandtrust.org.


AGM – Monday 15th May

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The Bedfordshire LNP AGM will be taking place on Monday 15th may 2017, 2pm, venue TBC. As ever, we would like to use the AGM as an opportunity for networking and information-sharing, so if you have a project or activity you feel would be of interest to the wider LNP membership please do get in touch (jon.balaam@greensandtrust.org) – there will be opportunities for presentation slots and/or displays.

Reminder – Funding for GI Projects in Central Bedfordshire

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Please don’t forget that Central Bedfordshire Council is inviting applications for large scale green infrastructure projects that benefit new developments. Funding secured from developments (planning obligations) is available for capital projects worth £25,000 or more, and there is around £650,000 available.

Any member of the Bedfordshire Local Nature Partnership or Town and Parish Councils can apply for funding. Projects supported in the past have included new Country Parks, nature reserves, cycleways and Green Wheels, tree top walkways, historic parks, new woodlands and many more. Applications are open now, and will close on the 7th April. If you would like more information, or a guidance and application pack, contact Laura Kitson at Central Bedfordshire Council (laura.kitson@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk).

Funding opportunity for green spaces and communities

Written by Jon Balaam on . Posted in News, RSS Newsletter

Tesco’s Bags of Help grants scheme, administered by Groundwork, award grants to voluntary or community organisations (including registered charities/companies), schools, Parish/Town Councils and local authorities, health bodies (e.g. Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), NHS Hospital Trust, Foundation Trust), and social housing providers. (This list is not exhaustive and there will be many other types of organisations that will be funded.)

The Bags of Help scheme is now permanently open for applications. As well as physical improvements of open spaces – such as building new pocket parks, sports facilities, woodland walks and community gardens – projects can now include volunteer training, equipment purchases, community events and sports and leisure activities.

Following a public vote, three projects in each region will receive a grant each month, with first place receiving up to £5,000, second place up to £2,000 and third place up to £1,000. Please note the maximum amount you can now apply for is £5,000. Previously awarded grants are unaffected by these changes to the scheme.

Find out more: Bags of Help

Welcome to the new Chairman

Written by Alexe Rose on . Posted in News, RSS Newsletter

We would like to welcome Professor Paul Leinster CBE as the new Chairman of Bedfordshire Local Nature Partnership.

Paul has been Professor of Environmental Assessment at Cranfield since October 2015. His research and strategic consultancy interests include the monitoring, assessment and control of emissions and discharges that affect air, water and land quality and impact on people and the environment.

He is a member of the government’s Natural Capital Committee, is a member of the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology’s Advisory Committee and the Scottish Government’s Rural and Environment Science and Analytical Services Strategic Advisory Board. He is a non-executive director of Flood Re, of a consultancy providing specialist product safety and regulatory compliance services and of the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment, and provides advice to a number of public and private sector organisations.

Through his current role at Cranfield University, Paul has forged links with local businesses, academic institutions, statutory bodies and public sector organisations across Bedfordshire. Paul is keen to connect people with environmental issues whilst working in partnership with business, local authorities and academic institutions to consider what is happening at a national level and apply this in Bedfordshire. He would like to learn from the LNP and explore what can be delivered in practice working partnership with other LNPs.

Call for nominations for Chairperson and vice-chairperson

Written by Alexe Rose on . Posted in News

Vacancy – Chairperson of Bedfordshire LNP

A unique opportunity for a charismatic Chairperson to lead the Bedfordshire Local Nature Partnership Board.  

Our current Chairman, Jon Balaam, is due to step-down as Chair at the AGM in May. We are now looking for nominations for a leader to build upon the foundations of the LNP and continue to move it forward over the next three years.

The Bedfordshire Local Nature Partnership is governed by a Board of high-level thinkers and advocates drawn from various sectors who lead our strategy. We are currently seeking a new Chair to provide strategic leadership for the Partnership and to act as a figurehead in influencing key stakeholders.

If you have a strong commitment to Bedfordshire’s natural environment; a track record in operating successfully at a senior level; and excellent communication and interpersonal skills this could be the volunteer opportunity for you.

We are also looking for a Vice-Chairperson

The Vice-Chairperson will work with the Board to support the Chairperson and lead the LNP.

The Bedfordshire Local Nature Partnership brings together all those interested in protecting and enhancing our natural environment for the benefit of people, wildlife and businesses. Our aim is for a county richer in nature. If you have a strong interest in Bedfordshire’s natural environment; a track record of operating successfully at a senior level; and excellent communication and interpersonal skills this could be the volunteer opportunity for you.

Time commitment

The Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson would each need to allocate around 12 days per year to these voluntary roles and the work of the Partnership, including Board meetings every quarter.

Board members are expected to serve a three year term.

Are you interested?

If you are interested in the role of Chairperson or Vice-Chairperson please contact Jon Balaam, current Chairman, for an informal discussion 01234 743666. Or you can talk to any of the Board members, please ask for contact details.

Chairperson and Vice-Chairperson will be elected at the AGM.

The deadline for nominations for the 2016 AGM is Monday 9th May, using the form available from Alexe.Rose@greensandtrust.org

Contact us

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    The Greensand Trust
    The Working Woodlands Centre
    Maulden Wood
    Haynes West End
    Bedfordshire, MK45 3UZ

    T: 01234 744592
    M: 07904 310833
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