Our work

Our objectives

Our objective is to protect, extend, grow and restore nature in our district. We are a part of nature and without it we cannot survive. We have been working on several high-level projects and have plans for the future.

Our 2023 strategy

Over this year, we will continue to engage with nature and climate groups across the county; we will comment on the emerging county and district plans in Oxfordshire; continue to lobby against too many market value houses being built in our countryside; and promote a new regional park for Oxfordshire. We will continue to challenge breaches in environmental law, be they over air pollution, sewage pollution of our rivers, development that threatens a safe and secure climate and environment; or threats to our heritage and the conservation status of our buildings and protected areas (such as Sites of Special Scientific Interest, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, and nature reserves).

Ongoing activities

BIOABUNDANCE RESPONSES TO THE LEVELLING-UP AND REGENERATION BILL, REFORMS TO NATIONAL PLANNING POLICY, 2023

Click here to see the Bioabundance response to the Consultation on National Planning Policy submitted on 2nd March 2023

SOUTH OXFORDSHIRE’S LOCAL PLAN 2041 CONSULTATION, JUNE 2022

A Narrative Response was collated by Dr Sue Roberts from Focus Group Meetings and has been used as the basis of the four responses submitted to the Planning Team. Follow this link to see the full Narrative; Bioabundance Narrative Response to South Oxfordshire’s Local Plan 2041 Consultation, June 2022. Links to the four responses submitted follow this summary of the Narrative Response. Click here for the full response.

Bioabundance responses to the four sections of this consultation 

 

Bioabundance response to Joint Local Plan issues-plan 2041 consultation June 2022,

Bioabundance comments on the settlements assessment methodology – June 2022 consultation,

Bioabundance comments on Sustainability Assessment (SA) Scoping Consultation Response – June 2022

Bioabundance comments on the Duty to Cooperate – June 2022 consultation

Bioabundance Comments on the Consultation on the SODC and Vale Draft Joint Design Guide.

It is imperative that climate change is addressed throughout the guide. South and Vale are signed up to the carbon reduction target of the Oxfordshire Energy Strategy and are committed to a 50% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030. New designs must keep within these limits. To achieve this, it is essential that the construction of domestic buildings be included in a standards and certification scheme. Choosing the right set of standards must be a high priority for the design guide team. The BREAM code for sustainable homes is an option. Passivhaus could be used but is not always viable. The development of smaller affordable homes with a smaller carbon footprint is encouraged. New developments should respect Community Lead Plans. The guide should include encouraging the reduction of carbon footprint in existing dwellings.

A high quality development should be fit for purpose; minimize carbon footprint; and encourage biodiversity. Technical studies of new developments should include surveys on watercourses, trees, habitats, species, production of food, preservation of existing farmland, natural carbon sequestering, flood risk mitigation and drainage. We recommend that living walls are encouraged to absorb CO2.

The National planning framework is still focused on GDP driven growth rather than the preservation of our natural and social capital. We ask for a change mechanism to be built into this guide so that it can quickly reflect any changes in Government policy in this area.

Consultation on the Local Transportation and Connectivity Plan

The key point in our submission to LCTP5 is that the plan must prioritise the 2050 deadline for net-zero carbon in transport in order to tackle the climate change emergency. This means building a sustainable transport network that integrates local e-bus, cycle and walking routes with the strategic rail and bus services for longer journeys. This is the only way to reduce car dependency, especially in rural areas and allow nature to recover after decades of destruction from increasing traffic and carbon emissions on our roads.

To protect nature, the Environment Bill sets out principles of Integration, Prevention, Rectification, Polluter Pays and Precaution. We have responded to the Government’s consultation on the application of these principles here. In brief, the statement is supposed to be a blueprint to show how to apply these principles but it does nothing of the sort. Instead, the original meaning of these words is greatly watered down. The principles are hedged about with concepts of ‘proportionality’ and the aim of the paper is to promote economic development whilst trying to do less harm to nature. An already weak bill that should be replaced by the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill is becoming increasingly toothless

Historical maps of South Oxfordshire through time are being studied better to understand the creeping urbanisation that has happened, and the likely effects this has had on bioabundance. We expect to extend these maps forward to the future to show the effects of increasing the housing in South Oxfordshire. The new Local Development Plan will increase housing by more than one house for every two that exist currently. We expect the damage to the natural world to be dramatic. Lead: Prof Richard Harding

Bioabundance supports the Climate and Ecology Emergency Bill Alliance and is actively working with it. Lead: Sally Mears

Bioabundance is the only group to come forward to challenge the Local Plan 2035 (LP2035) which South Oxfordshire District Council adopted on 10th December 2020.

Bioabundance initially received generous pro-bono advice from Brighton Legal Clinic (University of Brighton) to explore  the grounds for legal action on LP2035. Lawyers at BLC have worked on previous successful climate and environmental cases such as the refusal of Heathrow 3rd runway on climate grounds (since overturned).

The Brighton team sent a pre-application protocol letter to SODC on 4 January 2021 to attempt to settle out-of-court. On 21 January, Bioabundance filed a claimt to the High Court for a statutory review of L2035.

Solictors Leigh Day took on the action, with barristers from  Landmark Chambers.  Both have impressive track records in environmental and planning law.

Although only 20-30% of judicial reviews in planning are successful, the lawyers believed that Bioabundance had a reasonable case.

This ws a pioneering action by Bioabundance, and our last chance to put our environment before housebuilder profit in South Oxfordshire.

See the first press release by Leigh Day about the claim here.

Bioabundance case was rejected by a judges at the High Court. Bioabundance appealed, and again it was rejected by a second High Court judge. We went to the Court of Appeal and again, the view was that Government and South Oxfordshire District Council had no case to answer.

Lead: Sue Roberts

The key point in our submission to Oxfordshire’s Local Connectivity and Transport Plan 5, See our full response and a summary.

Sharing Knowledge

Concrete or Critters? How Unneeded New Housing is Stealing our Future

This Bioabundance webinar (2nd June 2021) features two talks of 20 minutes each, and a Q&A session

  1. Dr. Sue Roberts of Bioabundance and a South Oxford District Councillor. Timestamped at 01:04
  2. Professor David Rogers of the No Expressway Group (NEG)(https://www.noexpressway.org/). Timestamped at 21:36.

Tedx Housing Crisis in a Climate Crisis

Dr Sue Roberts gave a talk (9 min) at the Wallingford Tedx Day on Climate Change. Christiana Figueres (leader of the successful 2015 Paris accord talks on Climate Change) provided a talk on Stubborn Optimism. Both are here: http://www.tedxwallingford.co.uk/

Scroll to Top