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16 May 2019
Following a consultation period between December 2018 and February 2019, the Chancellor announced in his Spring Statementto Parliament on 13th March 2019 that biodiversity net gain will be mandated for all new developments in England as part of the upcoming Environment Bill.
The Clean Growth section of the Spring Statement demonstrated the Government’s commitment to “ensure that wildlife isn’t compromised in delivering necessary infrastructure and housing”.
On the same day as the Spring Statement was delivered, Defra stated that:
“Biodiversity net gain requires developers to ensure habitats for wildlife are enhanced and left in a measurably better state than they were pre-development. They must assess the type of habitat and its condition before submitting plans, and then demonstrate how they are improving biodiversity – such as through the creation of green corridors, planting more trees, or forming local nature spaces.
Green improvements on site would be encouraged, but in the rare circumstances where they are not possible, developers will need to pay a levy for habitat creation or improvement elsewhere.”
New developments in England will be required to demonstrate positive impacts on biodiversity; therefore, an integrated approach between developers, planning consultants, designers and ecologists will become increasingly important.
Considering ecology in the development process and commissioning an initial site survey at the point of project inception to understand potential constraints and opportunities for site enhancement is an effective way of delivering biodiversity net gain, be it for either small scale projects or larger developments.
Fostering close relationships with our clients, we are highly experienced in delivering habitat creation, management and monitoring regimes alongside housing and infrastructure schemes that will benefit communities and wildlife in the long-term.
If you are a consultant or developer looking for ways to enhance your site for biodiversity, you can always get in touch with our expert team who will be happy to assist with your project works in respect of ecology.