BASINGSTOKE and Deane Borough Council’s approach to enhancing the natural environment of the area has been praised.

At the annual Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (CIEEM) Awards, the borough council was recognised as one of the top planning authorities in the country.

The borough council was one of only three councils shortlisted for the Planning Authority of the Year Award.

Recent projects run by the council have included the restoration of proposed Local Nature Reserve Wigmore Heath, in Tadley, and the management of council parks and open spaces such as the Green Flag-awarded War Memorial Park and Eastrop Park.

Cabinet member for planning, infrastructure and natural environment Councillor Mark Ruffell said: “We are delighted that the hard work of the team has been recognised in this way. It is essential to preserve the borough’s beautiful and diverse natural environment for the benefit of future generations.

“There is much more that we can do but this award is national recognition that we are moving in the right direction.”