Your views are important to your local politicians. You have local knowledge and you are the people most affected by changes to your local environment. Do not underestimate the weight your voice can carry.
Your local politicians can be valuable allies when you are raising concerns about potential development of your area. However be aware that your local elected members do not have to act on your behalf. They are more likely to help if you can articulate your concerns in a clear, concise and considered way.
The following suggestions are simple to do by yourself, but if you are concerned about the impact of a development talk to other people in the area. You may find other like-minded people with whom you can work.
How can you influence your Local Council?
Your council has a statutory obligation to the conservation of biodiversity through section 40 of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities (NERC) Act 2006 . They also have duties in maintaining the quality of your local environment. In order to do this they draw up various plans and strategies such as the Community Strategy and Local Plan, councils have a responsibility to involve local communities in such plans.
Since 2012 the government has placed a lot of emphasis on planning at the local level. They believe that local knowledge is key to addressing local needs. An important part of this approach are Neighbourhood Plans . These provide an opportunity for local people to influence how their community develops and how their local environment can be protected.
The structure of your local council will vary depending on where you live ranging from town, parish or district councils through to unitary authorities. However councillors are always voted in through local elections and effectively volunteer part time, whilst council officers hold full time employment and are hired through normal employment procedures. Find out more about your local government and who your local councillors are.
Planning officers are mainly interested in planning arguments, but councillors will often give weight to wider views. Your goal is not only to convince the councillors that you have a case in planning terms, but to demonstrate the support your case has in the local community.