Gloucestershire Adherence to BNG
The Environment Act 2021 includes biodiversity net gain (BNG) as one of multiple core policies that aim to improve the state of the natural world, particularly during planning projects. More specifically, BNG involves not only maintaining the same standard of biodiversity and ecological value post-development as it was pre-development, but increasing the value by a minimum additional 10%.
Benefitting developers and local authorities that needed time to become better accustomed to the policy, the UK government implemented an optional two-year transition period. While some local councils decided to wait for biodiversity net gain to become mandatory before enforcing it, many insisted on receiving evidence from developers that the policy has been followed straight away. Gloucestershire County Council are one of the local authorities already operating within the rules of BNG, and as such, all projects will need to be staged with consideration to it.
Biodiversity Net Gain Under Gloucestershire County Council
Dated 22nd December 2021, Gloucestershire County Council posted a climate change strategy that outlined the plan for enhancing local biodiversity, primarily between 2022 and 2027. Among the aims of the strategy are to reduce carbon emissions from buildings, street lighting and vehicles by 80% by the year 2030, and aim for 100% net zero carbon emissions by the year 2045.
The strategy points towards the introduction of the biodiversity net gain policy as playing a pivotal role in the target to offset carbon emissions over future years. It also indicates that early initiation of the BNG policy in the county of Gloucestershire was partly down to the positive impact it would have on upcoming planning projects organised by the council, including an improvement to the M5 motorway that links the South West to the West Midlands.
BNG Impact on Modern Planning
As soon as the Environment Bill underwent royal assent and became the Environment Act, all policies within it – including biodiversity net gain – became law. The two-year transition period means that it won’t be instantly mandatory for all developers across England, but in the case of areas like Gloucestershire, developers will need to adhere to the planning requirement early or run the risk of a denied planning application.
Any developers looking to follow BNG to the exact specifications of the policy would be advised to reach out to an ecological consultant. With their help, a biodiversity measurement can be taken on the site based on current ecological features present to formulate a tangible biodiversity value. A post-development biodiversity value can then be retrieved using the proposed plans of the project. The ecologist will find a deficit between the two figures, eliminate it, and then increase the biodiversity value by an additional 10%.
Ecological Biodiversity Net Gain Surveys
Although it would be beneficial for developers to grow an understanding of biodiversity net gain, particularly with it becoming such a fundamental part of planning in the future, nothing could discount the need for intervention from an ecological consultant. At a predetermined date and time, an ecologist can visit your development site and undertake the necessary inspections to formulate a biodiversity net gain plan.
More specifically, an ecological surveyor will attend the site, inspect all areas and make a note of all ecological features. Comparing the current biodiversity value with the predicted future post-development biodiversity value, they will be able to gauge the necessary changes needed to remove a deficit between the two figures and increase the biodiversity value by at least 10%.
As well as offering insightful information to developers, a BNG plan will also act as trustworthy evidence that a site has been properly assessed and all ecological constraints have been mitigated in the eyes of your local planning authority. The planning department of a local council will regard the information from a BNG plan highly, and with it, they will be left with no reason but to grant planning applications made on the land.
Discuss Our BNG Plans with Us
Our quotes are determined by the size of your site and the scale of your project, and as a result, it would be advisable to speak directly to Arbtech so we can provide you with a free quote that matches your bespoke specifications. You can do this by calling us on the number at the top of this page, filling out our quote form online or checking out our contact page.
Once you have returned the quote form back to us with confirmation that you would like to work with us, we will arrange a time and date to visit your site for a BNG assessment. On the day of the assessment, one of our expert ecologists will gather the information they need to create a biodiversity net gain plan, and help you with pleasing Gloucestershire County Council and qualifying for planning consent.