After nearly 30 years of service to the National Trust, the former Museums and Collections Director Sarah Staniforth has been appointed Commander of the British Empire (CBE) in the New Year Honours list.
Former National Trust Museums and Collections Director Sarah Staniforth was appointed CBE in New Year Honours 2015. Credit National Trust / Chris Lacey
Ms Staniforth, who stepped down from her post this year to take an honorary position at the Trust, was credited for her services to National Heritage.
Extreme weather in 2014 created an unpredictable rollercoaster of a year for our beleaguered wildlife and saw a raft of migrant species visiting our shores, say experts at the National Trust in their annual wildlife and weather round-up.
As a result of the warm, often wet summer, this year’s wildlife winners include biting flies, slugs and snails. More positively, many resident birds, mammals and amphibians also had good breeding seasons, although the picture is patchy and localised.
Birling Gap, Credit National Trust
The year, however, will be most remembered for the winter storms in January and February; indicating the challenges that the natural world could face with the growing extremes of weather some of which may be caused by climate change.
National Trust rangers looking after the 742 miles of coastline cared for by the charity across England, Wales and Northern Ireland witnessed several years’ worth of erosion, while inland many of the Trust’s gardens and parklands suffered their greatest tree losses in almost 30 years.
Little terns along the Norfolk coast at Blakeney had to nest in low areas as a result of severe tidal surges which changed the beach profile. High tides followed in mid-June and flooded the seabirds’ nests resulting in a very poor breeding season.
“The Committee’s findings are the latest in a growing body of evidence that the NPPF is allowing developers to ignore the local communities it said would be at the very heart of its new approach. New National Trust research shows that even where a council has a local plan in place, these are being challenged by developers.
“The Government’s planning rules need revising so that they put people and places first.”
Developers are ‘gaming’ the planning system to get applications approved for lucrative new housing estates in the countryside – even in areas where councils had plans in place to meet housing needs in other locations, new research by the National Trust has revealed.
The conservation charity found flaws in the government’s planning rules were being exploited by developers to get homes built on green-field sites even though local authorities had never intended them to be built on.
The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) was introduced two years ago to boost development and tackle the housing crisis by cutting red tape. At the time ministers pledged that local communities would be given a greater say over planning rules and decisions on new development. New local plans would be ‘sovereign.’