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Biodiversity Net Gain – Elmbridge Borough Council

Make sure that any development sites in the Elmbridge area preserve and enhance the natural environment to meet the requirements of biodiversity net gain by instructing Arbtech to produce a BNG plan.

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Arbtech are the best asset you can possibly have when you need ecology or tree surveys to help you obtain planning permission.

Remaining Within the Parameters of BNG

Among the policies of 2021’s Environment Act was biodiversity net gain (BNG) – a concept that would lead to a pivotal change in the way we approach planning. It touches on enforcing developers to ensure that the ecological value of a development site is increased once a planning project has been completed compared to the state of the plot of land beforehand. Using a proven pre-development reading and predicted post-development reading, most local planning authorities would be expecting a minimum 10% increase.

Following a two-year transition period that underwent various extensions, BNG became a mandatory consideration in the majority of developments. Up until then, local authorities were given the ability to choose whether or not to insist on application of it and some even went as far as stipulating a larger net gain of biodiversity than 10%. As for Elmbridge specifically, the usual 10% increase applies, with developers having to ensure that they operate within the caveats of Elmbridge Borough Council.

Appearance of the Policy

Even before the policy became mandatory, local authorities all over the country were demonstrating acknowledgement and integration of biodiversity net gain by including it at length in local plans. Elmbridge Borough Council did the same, creating various pages, source materials and reference notes for both local planning authorities and developers to grow their understanding and knowledge of the policy in practice.

It is only possible to prove to your local council that you have remained within the boundaries of BNG by referring to the input of an ecological consultancy such as ours. At this point, we will be able to conduct an assessment of your development, and once completed, you will receive a BNG plan that will guide your next moves. Following the steps accordingly will guarantee that you are compliant with biodiversity net gain and help with planning applications.

Net Gain of Biodiversity in Planning

Originally announced in 2019 as part of the spring statement, the concept of biodiversity net gain was instantly in the minds of developers, planning officers and practically anyone else in development. Not only would it be a planning requirement that the local authorities enforce and developers satisfy, but refusing to accurately follow the rules of BNG will lead to potentially devastating penalties for the developer, ranging from fines to prison sentences.

Moving forward, BNG and planning work hand in hand, and an ecological consultant guarantees a correlation between the two factors throughout the planning process. For this to work, measurements of biodiversity value will be taken before and after the planning project, and the metrics will be evaluated to eliminate any deficit between the two and add on an additional 10% increase. As an alternative option, if this isn’t possible on the development site, biodiversity credits of the same value will be purchased off-site.

Establishing Current and Predicted Biodiversity Value

All developers, planners and members of local authorities would benefit from harnessing a usable understanding of BNG, particularly as it will form the basis of applications for planning permission, the perception of development sites and a contribution to climate change across the planning sector from now on. It is important, however, to remember that a biodiversity net gain plan will still be a mandatory consideration. During this time, an ecologist will undertake a prior desk study to research the site before visiting in person, continuing the process by recording all ecological assets and features.

The flora and fauna spotted throughout the site will be handed a numerical value, and all values will be added together to form the current biodiversity rating. A secondary rating for after the development will be created based on the plans of the project and any additional information obtained from the developer. Both ratings will then undergo extensive comparisons to uncover any deficit between the two, increase by a minimum of 10% and achieve BNG, even if it means referring to mitigation or compensation measures. Otherwise, the requirement will be completed elsewhere via biodiversity offsetting.

That said, the usual outcome will see BNG successfully met on the development site and no further surveys needed. Elmbridge Borough Council may ask for additional ecological assessments before considering an application for planning permission, but it is likely to be decided on a case-by-case basis depending on the findings from the BNG inspection. The ecological surveyor will guide you based on their comprehensive insight into the local council and area, and using that, you will be able to claim planning consent and satisfy any other crucial conditions of the local authorities.

Receive a Quote for an Assessment

Instead of delaying your development schedule, we would recommend speaking to the team at Arbtech as quickly as possible, enabling you to book in a BNG assessment and receive your completed BNG plan at a time that fits in with your planning application. We’ve worked on development sites all over Elmbridge and other parts of Surrey and wider South East England. If you want us to help you too, simply get in touch with our team and give us as much detail as you can about your site and project.

Either visit our contact page to complete an online quote form, call us, email us or speak to us over social media, and we can assemble a free quote for you immediately. Our ecological consultants can then help you to fit your development within the parameters of Elmbridge Borough Council, demonstrate an intention to combat climate change on a local scale, increase net gains of biodiversity to improve the natural environment, and progress your development into future stages.

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