Old english longhorn cattle grazing at Knepp. Photograph: Knepp Wildland Old english longhorn cattle grazing at Knepp. Photograph: Knepp Wildland

Fact checker: Who's to blame for the threat to a renowned rewilding site?

The claim Horsham District Council has blamed housing targets for its decision to allocate land for development which has been identified by the famed Knepp estate as a vital wildlife corridor

The reality The council is required to plan for 1,200 new homes every year, but with a government minister opposing the development, there are hopes it can be avoided

Last month environment minister Lord Goldsmith gave his backing to a campaign against a plan to build 3,500 homes on farmland near Knepp, claiming it would be a “tragedy” if it went ahead.

Leader of Horsham District Council Ray Dawe said the development “wouldn’t undo” Knepp’s nature restoration efforts, although it could dent hopes for a nature corridor beyond the estate. 

Dawe said there “was no wriggling out of the government requirement” to build more homes. According to him, government agency Homes England already has a plan to build 10,000 homes in the north of the district, but only 3,250 can be included in the new local plan “for reasons of timing”.

The council is now in contact with local MPs Jeremy Quin and Andrew Griffith to find a way around the rules so this site can be included in the plan, he said.

Dawe also suggested that Goldsmith should explain to his colleagues at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government that “very special circumstances apply in this case”.

Compliance Search

Discover all ENDS content in one place, including legislation summaries to keep up to date with compliance deadlines

Compliance Deadlines

Plan ahead with our Calendar feature highlighting upcoming compliance deadlines

News from ENDS Europe

News from ENDS Waste & Bioenergy