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Biodiversity Net Gain – Warwickshire County Council

One of only a handful of local authorities trialling biodiversity net gain prior to the national rollout, Warwickshire County Council will require evidence of consideration over the policy during local developments in the form of a BNG plan.

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BNG for Warwickshire Developments

Established under the umbrella of the Environment Act 2021, biodiversity net gain (BNG) poses benefits to help the standard of the natural world in a measurable way across significant percentage of development projects going forward. Brought in as a method of effectively reversing the effects of developments and other causes of harm to the natural environment, the concept of BNG is a biodiversity offsetting scheme where conservation activities compensate for losses to biodiversity, focusing on the intention of increasing the state of biodiversity by a minimum of 10%. In the case of Warwickshire, however, the council enforce an increase of 20%.

The government initiated a two-year transition period as a way of giving both developers and local councils across England a chance to become accustomed to the planning policy before the national rollout. Even so, the local planning authority in many areas opted to enforce BNG immediately as if it was already a universal rule for all current developments. Warwickshire County Council is one of numerous examples, and any developers staging a project in the area will need to bear in mind the implications of biodiversity net gain or chance facing issues with gaining planning permission.

Warwickshire Policies that Relate to Biodiversity Net Gain

One of the first areas of England to require consideration of biodiversity net gain in land developments, Warwickshire County and District Council even began staging planning projects with BNG integration prior to the policy requirement becoming a part of UK law in November 2021.

Natural England state that Warwickshire County Council were one of six pioneer local planning authorities to trial biodiversity net gain in developments dating as far back as 2019. Due to this, it came as no surprise to see Warwickshire’s local planning authority insisting that developers support sustainable development and provide evidence that the policy has been considered during applicable projects in the area.

The BNG Planning Policy

Unveiled in the 2019 spring statement before featuring as one of several components within the Environment Act 2021, the majority of developers and development projects will be affected by biodiversity net gain. Only a small selection of specific exemptions will be made, and in the remainder of circumstances, developers will be required to follow the rules of BNG or face delays, penalties or obstacles that could lead to a complete breakdown of their project.

An important factor in determining the required ecological enhancements is the deficit in biodiversity value pre-development compared to post-development. For an ecologist to measure the two values, they will use a universal biodiversity metric to record all ecological features on the site pre-development and predict the biodiversity value of the site post-development based on the developer’s plans, as well as any biodiversity loss caused by the planning project. Any gap between the two measurements can then be eliminated through the use of effective recommendations provided by the ecologist, resulting in the necessary 10% increase to biodiversity.

Performing a Biodiversity Net Gain Assessment

Developing an understanding of biodiversity net gain would be beneficial to anyone staging a planning project in the Warwickshire area. That said, possessing an advanced knowledge of the BNG policy will not remove the need for a licensed ecologist to conduct a biodiversity net gain assessment on the development site to gauge the biodiversity value now compared to once the project has completed.

A BNG assessment involves an ecological consultant attending the site to note down all ecological features and calculate the current ecological value before using similar techniques to determine the likely ecological value once the development is complete. With both values and recommendations using the mitigation hierarchy to ensure that the development reaches the required net gain of biodiversity, all details will be included in a comprehensive biodiversity net gain plan.

The completed BNG plan should then be passed on to the planning department of the local council. Details from the plan will provide your planning officer with the information they need to make a grounded decision whether to grant or deny the application for planning consent. As our biodiversity net gain plans include every factor local authorities will be looking for, there should be no problem with gaining planning permission.

Organise a BNG Plan with Us

Booking a biodiversity net gain assessment and plan early will eliminate any delays that would come from only considering the need for one on a last minute basis. Speak to Arbtech today and we can arrange a desirable time to visit your development site and put forward the necessary next steps to satisfy the requirements of Warwickshire County Council.

To get in touch, check out our communication options, call us via the number above or fill out our quick quote form. We would recommend giving us as much detail about your site and project as possible so we can then give you a free quote that is utterly accurate to your specifications. Assuming you are happy to move forward, we can begin to work with you in supporting your planning application.

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