BNG Plans in Berkshire

Show consideration of biodiversity net gain to the local planning authorities in Berkshire by instructing our team to create a BNG plan for your development.

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Demonstrating Integration of Biodiversity Net Gain

Since November 2021, the Environment Act has been an active part of UK law, with policies intended to support the environment and all valuable natural features. The stand-out part of the legislation was biodiversity net gain (BNG) – a mandate that refers entirely to development and pushes developers into retaining the ecological value of the site and enhancing it to a measurably better state after the planning project has been completed by at least 10% for a minimum of 30 years.

It is only possible to deliver BNG by bringing in an ecological consultant to record a pre-development biodiversity value and anticipate a post-development biodiversity value. At this point, the two resulting figures can be used to gauge the distance between them and what needs to be done to return to the original recording before adding on an additional 10%.

All local planning authorities have held the power to insist on adherence to biodiversity net gain since it became one of several universal planning requirements in February 2024. The local authorities of Bracknell Forest Council, Reading Borough Council, Slough Borough Council, West Berkshire Council, Windsor and Maidenhead Borough Council and Wokingham Council are included in overseeing BNG across Berkshire, and by following the policy correctly, developers can avoid harsh penalties, contribute to the conservation of the environment, and bolster applications for planning permission.

Natural Features Scattered Across Berkshire

With urban areas in the east and rural areas in the west, Berkshire has a fair share of diversity when it comes to undeveloped and developed patches of land. The county itself is home to the famous Windsor Castle and Windsor Great Park, alongside other attractions such as Basildon Park, Beale Wildlife Park, St George’s Chapel, Theatre Royal Windsor, and racecourses in Ascot and Newbury.

In the West Berkshire area alone, there are 500 local wildlife sites, 51 sites of special scientific interest (SSSI) and seven local geological sites. As for the number of protected species of animals and plants in the county, listed organisms protected by the Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust include water voles, otters, lapwings, hedgehogs, great crested newts, bats and adders.

Various individuals, initiatives and organisations come together in efforts to conserve, preserve and protect the natural environment, including the local council, the local communities, the Berkshire local nature partnership, the national planning policy framework (NPFF), the nature recovery network and local nature recovery strategies (LNRSs). Both to benefit planning applications and bypass any future issues, developers are advised to ensure that all applicable development projects adhere to BNG.

Analysing Biodiversity Value to Achieve the Mandate

Prior to seeing any development work started on the site, an inspection of priority habitats and requirements to enhance habitats or create new habitats will be conducted, resulting in a biodiversity net gain plan. Based on the existing habitats and a local-level assessment of the area, an ecological surveyor will be able to establish biodiversity networks and ecological networks in relation to the planning system.

The current biodiversity standard of the development site will be turned into a numerical value, and on the same level, the ecologist will also consider the likely value after the project. If any deficit remains between the two figures, efforts to protect biodiversity and fight climate change will be implemented before further value can be added, all using the mitigation hierarchy and through the initiation of mitigation and compensation measures.

Alternatively, if the ecological consultant is unable to satisfy biodiversity net gain on the Berkshire site, the last resort will be to use habitat banks as a way of achieving biodiversity offsets elsewhere. Land managers turn patches of land into a habitat bank, allowing developers to purchase offsite biodiversity units, equating to the same quantity as the biodiversity credits needed to meet the mandate and making it possible for biodiversity gain to happen outside of the developer’s site.

Involving expert guidance, land management considerations, site restrictions such as conservation covenants and next steps such as biodiversity offsetting or on-site changes, the BNG plan will contain all necessary components expected by your local planning authority. Providing all of the recommended steps advised in the plan have been completed, there should be no issue in obtaining a successful planning application from the planning officer.

Contact Our Team for a Quote

Our coverage across England spreads our services to Berkshire and such areas in the local vicinity. Through collecting feedback, regular training, opportunities for all staff to earn new qualifications, and monitoring the guidance of relevant organisations such as DEFRA, CIEEM and Natural England, we ensure that the standard of our service is at the highest possible level, remaining in line with lawful regulations and guaranteeing the utmost quality to all clients.

Between our team, we have comprehensive knowledge of nature recovery, habitat banks, restrictive measures such as a conservation covenant, the biodiversity net gain planning policy and the planning system, making us fully acquainted with all relevant areas. View a free quote assembled by our team by visiting our website, calling us or sending us an email, and with it, you can decide whether or not to choose us as your provider of BNG assessments and plans.