BNG Plans in Lancashire

After undertaking a biodiversity net gain assessment on your development site in Lancashire, we will ensure that the mandate has been met and a BNG plan has been passed on to you to help with your planning application.

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Integration of the Biodiversity Net Gain Policy

February 2024 saw the long-awaited nationwide rollout of biodiversity net gain (BNG), with alternative versions released in April 2024 to account for other forms of minor or major developments. It is part of the Environment Act, and following several setbacks, it now plays a role in moderating permitted development and restricting any actions that could otherwise cause short-term or long-term harm to the natural environment.

Following mandatory BNG means operating under a legal requirement and avoiding any issues with the local planning authority when it comes to applications for planning permission. To be successful in delivering the new requirement, a pre-development value and post-development value of the development site need to be created, compared and mitigated before bridging the gap and building on the first figure by a minimum of 10%, resulting in a measurably better state of biodiversity value.

Up until 2024, the local planning authorities across England were able to pick and choose whether or not to insist on compliance with the national policy. Now, however, it is strictly mandatory for all developments that apply, leaving no alternative but to provide supporting evidence to the planning officer and show adherence to the rules. Looking at the county of Lancashire, multiple local authorities alongside Lancashire County Council will need to be addressed correctly before they will be sufficiently happy that biodiversity net gain has been accomplished.

Standard of Ecology Throughout Lancashire

Between the countless towns and villages all over the county including Bamber Bridge, Blackburn with Darwen, Burnley, Lancaster, Lytham St Annes and Preston, Lancashire contains even more green patches of land. The two Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) of the Forest of Bowland and Pendle Hill appear in the county alongside the outdoor attractions of Turbary Woods, Lancaster Castle, Rivington Pike, Stanley Park, St Anne’s Beach, the Trough of Bowland, Williamson Park and a wide selection of canals, fields, moorlands, waterways and woodlands.

Intriguingly classed as 80% rural, the county of Lancashire is home to many of the protected species in circulation, such as badgers, bats, beavers, American mink, pine martens and water voles. The Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside are in charge of protecting such listed animals, and in addition to BNG requirements, developers are forced to navigate their way through the local nature recovery strategy (LNRS), relevant legislation, other protective measures, and the planning system as a whole.

Calculating Harm to the Environment

In order to acknowledge all expected biodiversity losses, new developments need to go through a biodiversity net gain assessment. During this time, all existing habitats will be analysed and converted into a unit measurement and combined using the statutory biodiversity metric. Quality and condition will play a role, and the baseline value will lead the ecological surveyor to create a secondary figure based on the development landscape design of the project and how that will leave the site afterwards.

Any changes that need to be made can then be identified by comparing the two figures, establishing any irreplaceable habitats that will be retained and any new habitats created with a view to enhancing biodiversity. If even the most comprehensive of changes won’t suffice on-site, however, an off-site provision will be necessary, available as a last resort in the process of achieving BNG. Off-site BNG works by the developer buying the same number of biodiversity units as credits away from the site, generating habitat creation elsewhere to meet the 10% increase.

Regardless of whether the changes were made on-site or off-site, all further information from the survey will be compiled in the biodiversity net gain plan. Part of the plan is displayed as a report to make the results clear while the rest is detailed as a proactive plan for ensuring that the BNG mandate has been followed before the development started. Once finalised, the biodiversity gain plan can be moved across to the local planning authority to assist with the planning application.

Work Out How to Approach BNG

By maintaining connections to the local councils and any relevant regulators, we can guarantee that we meet not only the biodiversity net gain requirements but also the parameters in the specific area. Operating in such a way means that we can provide just as effective a service based on the guidance of Wildlife Trust for Lancashire, Manchester and North Merseyside in Greater Manchester as we can for the Cheshire Wildlife Trust in neighbouring areas.

We can support both major and minor development projects, and guide you in confirming or denying if the biodiversity net gain requirements will affect your plans. As soon as we are instructed to work for you, we will be able to identify each present site habitat, initiate moves of strategic significance to enhance biodiversity, and offer assurances that all factors of local and national planning policy and the planning process are followed accordingly.

For a free quote, simply speak to our team by calling us, emailing us or filling out a quick quote form online. Using your details, we can send across an accurate quote for a BNG assessment and plan based on your Lancashire development site. If you are happy to move forward from here, let us know as soon as possible, and we can book an appropriate date to undertake the assessment, help you with achieving biodiversity net gain, and support planning applications.