On 19 October, The Government released the latest update to the Environment Bill and set within it was confirmation that all future projects involving the development of land will need to deliver a 10% biodiversity net gain. There is also a requirement to manage those enhancements for thirty years.
Subsequently the Bill has massive implications for house builders, farmers and land owners who may have land banks they are preparing for development as they may need to re-assess the layout of their site to ensure this gain has been delivered, or risk planning refusal and project delays.
The Bill also outlines the intention to implement more ‘local nature recovery strategies’ to ensure habitats are protected.
Subsequently, biodiversity is going to be attached to every planning application and will not be granted unless the developer has submitted a biodiversity net gain plan and that plan has been approved by the planning authority.
Commenting, Nick Sanderson, Director of Ecology Consultants Ramm Sanderson said, “We have encountered several instances already that have required biodiversity net gain as part of planning applications. The intention is clear, not only is the Government aiming to ‘conserve’ biodiversity, it intends to go further by insisting on ‘enhancement. Going forward it will be important for land owners and farmers to engage with specialists as soon as possible to ensure plans meet the new mandatory requirements and this will involve discussion about the various options that are available such as using low yield land to create new habitats and increase biodiversity.”
The purpose of the Environment Bill is to make provision about targets, plans and policies for improving the natural environment; to make provision for the Office for Environmental Protection; to make provision about waste and resource efficiency; to make provision about air quality; to make provision for the recall of products that fail to meet environmental standards; to make provision about water; to make provision about nature and biodiversity; to make provision for conservation covenants; to make provision about the regulation of chemicals; and for connected purposes.
RammSanderson was founded in 2014 by Oliver Ramm and Nick Sanderson and provides Ecological Consultancy, Flood Risk Assessment and Arboriculture services. The company employs 45 people across offices located in Ilkeston, Stafford, London and Sheffield.