BNG Plans in Devon

If biodiversity net gain applies to your development, it is imperative to remain within the parameters of Devon County Council and other local authorities. By instructing us to create a BNG plan, you can gain assurances over meeting the mandate and securing a planning application.

Get a Quick Quote

Step 1 of 3

Same Day Quotes
Planning Permission Focused
Simple, Hassle-free Service

Considering Biodiversity Net Gain Within Planning

All policies within the Environment Act were made active by the local authorities in November 2021, giving them the ability to enforce every part of the act, including biodiversity net gain (BNG). Following a two-year transition period that was initiated to give local councils and developers an opportunity to become better accustomed to the planning policy, BNG would change the way we approach the planning stage of development.

Within the promise of biodiversity net gain, any time a development applies to the mandate, the condition of the environment should be retained from pre-development to post-development before being enhanced by a further 10%. For it to work, two scores will be taken prior to and after development works, with an ecological surveyor overseeing that the value of the site doesn’t suffer any degradation as well as going on to improve to a higher standard.

In addition to a responsibility to benefit the natural world as a result of the planning policy, developers will also feel an obligation to guarantee that BNG is followed accordingly due to the potential impact it could have on planning applications. As of February 2024, all local planning authorities including Devon County Council started to strictly demand evidence of adherence to BNG with only minor exemptions.

Devon’s Existing Environmental Quality

From coasts to fields and hills to shorelines, Devon features a variety of different countryside elements. It is classed as one of the most rural counties in England, helped by the presence of two National Parks and the fact that one of them (Dartmoor) is the largest open space in all of Southern England. That said, the selection of cities, towns and villages means that only 55% of the Devon population lives in rural areas.

Looking at the current state of biodiversity across Devon, the county has 114,000 hectares of land covered by 19 special areas of conservation (SAC), 48,500 hectares covered by 212 special sites of scientific interest (SSSI), and 5,420 hectares covered by three special protection areas (SPAs). From the total 670,000 hectares of land across Devon, 24,530 hectares account for woodland.

Overseen by the Devon Wildlife Trust, protected species of animal native to the county include reptiles, nesting birds, great crested newts, dormice, bats and barn owls, as well as countless plant species. A county as green and authentic as Devon will likely see the complete endorsement of environmentally friendly policies like biodiversity net gain and hefty restrictions from the local council whenever any natural features are under threat, particularly from development.

Measuring and Mitigating Biodiversity Value

For it to be possible to successfully achieve BNG and meet the relevant Devon planning guidance, a developer would first need to acquire a biodiversity net gain plan. On a set date, ecological consultants will visit the site to undertake an analysis of the current biodiversity value and anticipate the likely value once the planning projects have been completed, using the two numbers to recognise any deficit and enhance biodiversity by a minimum of 10%.

As with other ecological surveys, a mitigation hierarchy will be used to make the correct decisions and prioritise certain outcomes over others. An ideal scenario would see ecological features retained at all costs, but if biodiversity compensation or mitigation measures are needed, the ecological surveyor would be forced to take a strategic approach that would return the site to the original biodiversity value after the development before increasing the value further.

Even if the circumstances confirm that BNG cannot be fulfilled on-site, the planning system allows for biodiversity offsetting off-site through the purchasing of BNG credits. Whatever the results of a biodiversity net gain assessment, all findings, decisions, steps forward and further information will be provided in a BNG plan. Similar to an ecology report, the plan outlines to the local planning authority how the mandate will be met, helping with securing planning permissions.

Refer to Our BNG Experts Today

Within our team are multiple ecological surveyors with the licensing, training, qualifications and experience to undertake BNG assessments and produce biodiversity net gain plans to a sufficiently high standard. Our understanding of the latest updates from CIEEM, DEFRA, Natural England and the parameters of each local district council enables us to be as precise and effective as possible with each and every client.

By distributing our ecologists all across England, we can guarantee a Devon County ecologist to assist your development works. Contact our team for a free quote today on our website, over the phone or via email, and if you are happy with it, let us know and we can begin the process of managing a BNG assessment for your site. The resulting biodiversity net gain plan will then be ready for your local authority, giving you everything you need to obtain planning consent.