The Wildlife of Whitehill Biodiversity Action Plan (WOW BAP) was first launched by the Whitehill Town Partnership Environment Conservation Group in 2008 to raise awareness of the importance and value of the Wildlife of the Parish of Whitehill and its surroundings. The Parish is set within a landscape that supports sites of exceptional nature conservation value that have been designated European levels of protection for their habitats and species. The Parish is also within the Wealden Heaths Biodiversity Opportunity Area. Biodiversity Opportunity Areas have been defined at a landscape scale as areas where the loss of biodiversity and species-rich habitats can be halted by improving habitat connectivity and wildlife networks. Within this landscape and Biodiversity Opportunity Area context, the WOW BAP is intended to be an aid to ensure that the existing biodiversity resources of the Parish are protected and enhanced, with targets in place for the potential of the area to be met. The aim of the WOW BAP is to benefit the existing and future residents with a view to inform development of the proposed eco-town and increase in population size. Six Priority Areas were defined for documentation of threats, objectives to address these, actions for partners to take and outcomes to aim for. These Priority Areas cover the majority of land within the Parish of Whitehill north of Woolmer Forest that is not already protected by statutory designations. Parts of Hollywater and Oxney Farm and Meadows Priority Area extend beyond the parish boundary.
Green Infrastructure Strategy
The WOW BAP is a live document that is updated each year to reflect progress in achieving objectives and to incorporate new threats and objectives as these arise. The development of a Green Infrastructure Strategy for the ecotown represents a significant opportunity for the WOW BAP objectives and outcomes to be met and expanded. However it also means that to fulfil the remit of the WOW BAP, the document needs to be broadened with new Priority Areas and new objectives where necessary in order to align the document with the Green Infrastructure Strategy. Currently the WOW BAP does not cover the whole of the proposed eco-town footprint and adjacent areas, and there is concern that a direction for policy is required where such areas are not already protected by statutory legislation. This is particularly important because much of the undeveloped land within and adjacent to the eco-town will need to support a much higher pressure of use by residents and be used as alternative natural greenspace to mitigate visitor pressure on nearby European nature conservation sites (Special Areas for Conservation and Special Protection Areas). Therefore information on the type of features present, and the sensitivity of such features to visitors, are key issues to be addressed within existing and new Priority Areas.
Whitehill Bordon Eco-town Green Infrastructure Strategy