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Biodiversity Net Gain – Bolton Council

Enforcing the policy early, Bolton Council demanded evidence of a BNG plan to prove adherence to the biodiversity net gain policy on applicable development sites in the area.

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Introducing BNG to Bolton

A new planning policy that guarantees consideration for the environment during a significant portion of developments, biodiversity net gain (BNG) was brought in as part of the Environment Act 2021. It surfaces on an approach that insists upon developers increasing the state of biodiversity on a development site by at least 10%, enabling planning projects to go ahead without impacting the natural world.

In order to hand local councils and developers a realistic opportunity to adjust to the eventual universal application of biodiversity net gain, the government initiated a two-year transition period. Even with the transition period in place, however, a large number of planning departments within local councils decided to begin already following the rules of BNG and, as a result, will not consider a planning application without evidence of it on each applicable development site. Among the councils enforcing biodiversity net gain already is Bolton Council. Due to this, all developers staging developments in the Bolton area will need to ensure that they are operating within the policy.

Bolton’s Consideration for Biodiversity Net Gain

Including initiatives that were designed to support ecological enhancement between 2021 and 2030, the Bolton Climate Change Strategy features numerous components to benefit the environment. Biodiversity net gain is just one of many features alongside various plans to improve buildings, transport and operations, employment, entrepreneurship and innovation, governance and climate leadership, homes, communities and wellbeing, natural environment and climate resilience, and skills for a sustainable future.

The strategy primarily references BNG as an end result that should be integrated into developments going forward, with efforts to cut down on fossil fuels, improve green infrastructure, increase habitat availability, reduce flood risk, and use more renewable energy sources all listed as factors that will benefit biodiversity in the Bolton area.

The Purpose of BNG

Since it was first announced in the 2019 spring statement, the concept of biodiversity net gain has quickly become an integral part of future developments in England. Aside from very few exemptions, the planning policy will affect the majority of planning projects in the country, and refusal to follow it will likely lead to penalties, delays and the potential for the development to entirely fall apart.

Biodiversity value plays a significant role in achieving BNG, with a measurement taken before the development using all ecological features on the site and a measurement predicted for after the development based on the developer’s plans. A biodiversity metric will then determine if there is a deficit between the two values, and if there is, the ecologist will come up with relevant changes to the development that will meet the 10% net gain of biodiversity.

Biodiversity Net Gain Assessment Process

Developers may find the introduction of biodiversity net gain as being somewhat overwhelming, even with the two-year transition period in place. Although it would be advisable that all developers build an understanding of BNG, harnessing a knowledge of the planning policy won’t remove the need for an ecologist’s insights in the form of a biodiversity net gain plan.

A BNG plan comes following a biodiversity net gain assessment and includes all of the necessary measures and recommendations to ensure that the net gain of biodiversity is met. An ecologist will visit the development site to carry out a BNG assessment, using the physical inspection as an opportunity to record all ecological features on the site.

The completed biodiversity net gain plan will then be passed on to the local planning authority, with it playing a significant role in the application for planning permission due to how highly planning officers regard the insights of ecologists. Providing you choose to work with an ecological consultancy with a solid track record like Arbtech, you should have no problem gaining planning consent on your site.

Speak to Arbtech about a BNG Plan

In the early stages of planning a development project in the Bolton area, developers would be advised to speak to us about our biodiversity net gain assessments and plans to guarantee that you meet the demands of BNG. We will then work with you to pick a suitable time to conduct a survey, visit your site and ensure that we correctly satisfy the requirements of Bolton Council.

For a free quote, check out our contact options, fill out a quick quote form or call us on the number above. You will then receive your quote, and if you are happy to move forward, send it back to us and we can begin to help you with developing a BNG plan to support your application for planning permission.

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