Outstanding work to protect iconic bird species has seen Portsmouth City Council handed two prestigious environmental planning awards and shortlisted for national recognition.

Judges of the Royal Town Planning South East awards hailed the council and its partners in the Bird Award Partnership for their work safeguarding species including Brent geese and curlews.

The team won the important Excellence in Planning for the Natural Environment award as well as being named Regional Winner - which saw them automatically shortlisted for a national award in April.

The council's Bird Aware Partnership Manager Anna Parry said: "This is fantastic recognition for all the teamwork that has gone into creating the partnership.

"Please keep your fingers crossed for us at the national awards."

Cabinet member for planning, regeneration and economic development Cllr Ben Dowling said: "This award is very well deserved because Bird Aware is such an important initiative to raises awareness of birds that spend the winter on the Solent coast, so people can continue to enjoy the internationally protected area without disturbing the wildfowl and waders. 

"Information is predominantly voiced by a team of rangers that tour the Solent engaging with walkers and other users of the coast about the plight of the birds and their migration journeys."

Chairman of the Partnership for Urban South Hampshire, which oversees the Bird Aware Solent partnership, Seán Woodward, said: "Bird Aware is a partnership that is vital for the future of our birds that spend the winter here.  It's an important organisation for the local community and economy, so I’m thrilled that it got the acknowledgement it deserves with these two awards.  I’m really pleased for everyone involved and very excited for what the future holds."

Royal Town Planning Institute chief executive, Victoria Hills, said: "The Bird Aware Solent project provides special protection for overwintering birds on the Solent coastline, following concerns from natural environment experts about human disturbance to the wildlife.

"Led by Bird Aware Solent and through strong collaboration across several local authorities, the project provided a crucial response to protecting the birds whilst enabling continued residential development and open access to the coastline for visitors. It is wonderful to celebrate the role that planners will continue to do in delivering prosperous places for both communities and wildlife alike."

To find out more go to www.birdaware.org.

Birdaware award