Ecological Value in North West England
According to the State of the Natural Environment in the North West from Natural England, designated landscapes make up 29% of the region, primarily through the presence of the Lake District, certain sections of the Peak District and the Yorkshire Dales, and four recognised Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). It also boasts of a significant number of wildlife habitats across the region, with evidence that 35 out of the 40 Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) habitats are present in the North West.
Unfortunately, however, as concerning data indicates a far from perfect state of biodiversity across the region, operating within the rules of biodiversity net gain (BNG) during a planning project isn’t entirely simple. For instance, an environmental report on the North West from the UK government claims that the region has a higher percentage of car usage, a lower percentage of public transport usage compared to the national average, the second highest volume in the production of household waste, water quality below the national average, and numerous areas of ‘deprivation, worklessness and social exclusion’, particularly in industrial and coastal towns, as well as in and around both Liverpool and Manchester.
In any current or future land development, you will be required by your local planning authority to ensure that the biodiversity value will be maintained at the existing level before being improved upon by at least an additional 10%. For any projects in the North West of England and the corresponding counties of Cheshire, Cumbria, Greater Manchester, Lancashire and Merseyside, the rules of BNG will apply, so guaranteeing that your development operates within the policy is a legal requirement.
North West Authorities
The local council that you will be dealing with to achieve biodiversity net gain as part of your development project will be determined based on your location. In an effort to simplify the process of meeting the BNG requirement, all of the local councils in the North West region are listed below, separated by county.
- Cheshire East Council
- Cheshire West and Chester Council
- Halton Borough Council
- Warrington Borough Council
Adhering to Biodiversity Net Gain
An unavoidable component in all future developments, biodiversity net gain is part of the Environment Act 2021 that focuses on enhancing the environmental standard of a site following the completion of a planning project. Within this mandate, the biodiversity value on the site is measured prior to the development and, based on the nature of the project, the changes being made and any additional factors that could benefit the cause, the value should be built upon by at least 10% post-development.
Depending on location, it could be the case that many developers and development projects are unaffected by BNG, as it is currently in a transition period of two years to allow developers and local authorities to adapt. However, as a large number of local planning authorities have already opted to enforce the planning requirement in preparation for it becoming mandatory, planners are expected to not only be aware of the concept of biodiversity net gain, but also incorporate it into their project.
Only dating back as far as 2018 when the concept was originally announced, biodiversity net gain is relatively new, and although it will soon be mandatory for all developments, the recent unveiling means that many developers are understandably lacking an understanding of the policy. Likewise, effective support on enhancing biodiversity to achieve BNG can be difficult to find.
Fortunately, however, our team of ecologists have kept a finger on the pulse of all matters relating to biodiversity net gain since its inception. As such, we are capable of carrying out a thorough BNG survey to provide impactful recommendations, ensure that the 10% net gain requirement is met, and prove to the local planning authority that the correct measures are in place.
Plan a BNG Assessment
Despite currently undergoing a two-year transition period, biodiversity net gain is a consideration for land developments that many local planning authorities are already implementing. Due to this, it is wise for developers and anyone else in charge of planning projects to avoid any potential problems further down the line by adhering to the BNG mandate straight away.
Through a biodiversity net gain assessment, our expert team of ecologists can develop an understanding of your site and project to guarantee effective biodiversity enhancements, suitably appeasing your local planning authority and securing your application for planning permission.
For a free quote without obligation, speak to our friendly team and we will be able to give you an accurate price for a BNG assessment and report based on the details of your site and project. You can get in touch using the quote form or phone number at the top of this page, or visit our dedicated ‘Contact‘ page.