The Biodiversity Planning Guidance was approved by cabinet on June 9, 2022.

It seeks to provide further clarification to Core Strategy Policy CS13. It has been prepared to assist anyone who is considering undertaking a development proposal in understanding how biodiversity loss can be avoided or mitigated on-site and where this is not possible compensated for offsite. As such it is a material consideration in decision making.

The guidance relates to impacts upon vegetative habitats only. It does not cover development impacts upon protected and notable species or provide guidance on wildlife legislation.

Applicants are required to submit a Biodiversity Impact Calculation in accordance with the local validation requirements, using a recognised tool and supported by plans and a survey methodology appropriate to that tool (e.g. Calculations using the DEFRA 4.0 metric or any subsequent version should be based on a UKHabs assessment.

Where there is a net loss requiring a biodiversity off setting payment the calculation must include the full cost of any offsetting.

Surveys should be undertaken and prepared by competent persons, with suitable qualifications and experience, at an appropriate time of year, in suitable conditions and using a nationally recognised methodology.

 It is the role of the  applicant to demonstrate how the development proposal will avoid biodiversity loss  or be  mitigated on site and where this is not possible compensated offsite. It is not the role of the local planning authority to identify  or to provide suitable mitigation measures for the loss of biodiversity.

Further information can be found in the  guidance can be found in the document below.

Biodiversity planning guidance

Biodiversity Net Gain Requirements

All new developments will have to demonstrate through a planning application, how a scheme will provide at least 10% biodiversity net gain. The purpose being to result in additional or better-quality natural habitat than there was previously.

As of 12 February 2024, BNG became a mandatory requirement across England for major developments. And, from 2 April 2024, the changes to BNG legislation will impact small and the majority of all developments that were otherwise previously exempt.

When submitting a planning application, small sites along with major developments will need to follow all relevant and applicable local and national planning policy including the Mitigation Hierarchy.

The Council has a list outlining the Validation Requirements for Planning Applications which sets out the information required to be submitted with applications; in order for them to be considered valid, and subsequently processed by the Local Planning Authority.

Many small sites will be exempt from the BNG requirement, these include:

  • Developments subject to the de minimis exemption – development that does not impact priority habitats less than 25 square metres (e.g., 5m x 5m) of onsite habitat. Or 5 metres of linear habitats such as hedgerows.
  • Development of a biodiversity gain site – development which is undertaken solely or mainly for the purpose of fulfilling, in whole or in part, the biodiversity gain condition which applies in relation to another development.
  • Development granted planning permission by development order under section 59. This includes permitted development rights.
  • Householder development – development which is subject to a householder application as defined within Article 2(1) of the Town and Country Planning (Development management Procedure) (England) Order 2015.
  • Self-build and custom build development – development which:
    • Consists of no more than 9 dwellings,
    • Is carried out on a site which has an area no larger than 0.5 hectares, and
    • Consists exclusively of dwellings which are self-build or custom housebuilding as defined in the section of the Self-build and Custom Housebuilding Act 2015.

More guidance can be found within the National Planning Practice Guidance at GOV.UK.

Last updated: Wed 27th March, 2024 @ 12:00