BNG Plans in Herefordshire

Any time a planning project is required to adhere to biodiversity net gain, the local council will refuse to grant planning without evidence of compliance to the policy. Make sure that your development meets the guidelines of Herefordshire Council with a BNG plan.

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Adjusting to Biodiversity Net Gain

November 2021 saw the introduction of the Environment Act into law, bringing with it all integrated policies, including biodiversity net gain (BNG). Applying solely to planning, the BNG policy intends to lock in the original state of the environment on a site prior to a development, and once the project has been completed, add to the biodiversity value by an additional 10% minimum increase.

During an assessment of the development site, the current condition of the environment before the project will be compared to the predicted condition of the environment after the project. Any deficit between the two can then be distinguished and dealt with, and from there, the ecological consultant in charge of the inspection process can work to enhance value.

From the perspective of developers, remaining compliant with biodiversity net gain offers multiple benefits, including assisting the environment, avoiding breaches of the law, and removing issues that could otherwise hinder applications for planning consent. Herefordshire Council are one of countless local authorities all over the country that have enforced the BNG policy since the mandatory rollout in February 2024.

Current State of the Environment

Situated in the West Midlands, the county of Herefordshire is best known for leading in agriculture and acting as the destination for numerous green areas. An astonishing 95% of Herefordshire is estimated to be classified as rural, even considering the ongoing growth in population that is expected to move higher by a further 15,000 people over the next two years.

In tandem with a significant portion of the countryside, Herefordshire also contains 21 sites of geological interest and 62 with biological interest. It also has 22 areas of outstanding natural beauty (AONB) and six special areas of conservation (SAC). All wildlife throughout Herefordshire including protected species of both animals and plants is safeguarded by the actions of the Herefordshire Wildlife Trust.

Of all listed animal species, categories present in Herefordshire include barn owls, bats, birds, dormice, grass snakes, great crested newts, otters, pine martens, water voles and white-clawed crayfish among many others. Between the local authorities and the local nature recovery strategy (LNRS), assisting the environment in development is high on the list of priorities, with BNG emerging as an impactful method of doing exactly that.

Visiting a Site for a BNG Inspection

The likelihood of monitoring and enhancing nature’s recovery on a site following a development project is increased through the intervention of a biodiversity net gain plan. An ecological surveyor plays an important role in the process, attending the development site on a planned date to evaluate the existing biodiversity value and gauging the anticipated value once the development has been completed.

Various mitigation or compensation measures may be used in order to protect valuable ecological features and remove any obstacles that could impact biodiversity value, contributing to decisions using the mitigation hierarchy. All potential biodiversity losses will be accounted for, and all applicable biodiversity improvements will be identified alongside realistic methods of executing them.

An alternative option would be to enhance other green spaces via biodiversity offsetting if it simply isn’t possible to achieve sufficiently good health for wildlife and wildlife corridors on the site in question. After any assessments for applicable land and property projects, a form of report will be created known as a BNG plan, and within it, all details and instructions for the site will be detailed at length. The developer can then pass it on to the local planning authority to bolster applications for planning permission.

Discuss Next Steps with Our Team

Ever since the Environment Bill was given royal assent and became the Environment Act, we’ve been keeping tabs on changes and updates, with a focus on how developers and planning projects would be impacted. Our team possess the experience, training, qualifications and licensing to provide a high-quality service to our clients, oversee biodiversity projects and assessments, and assemble BNG plans with the insights needed to support planning.

Due to the nationwide ramifications of the biodiversity net gain policy, we distribute our ecological surveyors all over the country, including several in the Herefordshire area. For help with biodiversity net gain, obtaining successful planning applications, and matters relating to environmental management and nature recovery, reach out to our team for a free quote via our website, email or over the phone, and one of our administration staff will be more than happy to help you.