Biodiversity Net Gain Plans in the South West

Upon completion of new developments, a 10% increase of biodiversity net gain must be met. Our ecologists across the country will assist by producing biodiversity net gain plans, including in the South West region.

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South West Ecological Quality

A report on the South West environment outlined the current standard of biodiversity in the region and considerations that are specific to the corresponding counties. Listed concerns included air and water quality, biodiversity, climate change, cumulative effects, disturbance, habitats, marine litter and marine protected areas, non-native invasive species, and underwater noise.

Looking specifically at South West England, the report details the environmental issues in the area. For instance, air pollution primarily spans from Avonmouth, Bristol, Falmouth and Plymouth, protected species include arctica islandica, common mearl, herring gull, native oyster and stalked jellyfish, and a significant number of animal habitats are situated in marine protected areas due to the selection of costal locations in the region.

Ongoing efforts from corresponding local authorities are looking to reverse negative man-made impacts on the health of the environment and enhance the quality of biodiversity with an eye on the future. A nationwide approach has been the introduction of biodiversity net gain (BNG) – a planning policy that insists upon developments increasing the state of biodiversity by a minimum of 10%. Due to nationwide adherence of the policy, South West England and the counties of Bristol, Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire will be required to follow the mandate.

South West England Councils and Authorities

For developers in the South West region, showing consideration to the policy will be done in close partnership with the corresponding local planning authority. All local councils – and the local authorities of the individual towns, cities and villages – across South West England are listed below:

Bristol

  • Bristol City Council

Cornwall

  • Bodmin Town Council
  • Bude-Stratton Town Council
  • Callington Town Council
  • Camborne Town Council
  • Camelford Town Council
  • Cornwall Council
  • Falmouth Town Council
  • Fowey Town Council
  • Hayle Town Council
  • Helston Town Council
  • Launceston Town Council
  • Liskeard Town Council
  • Looe Town Council
  • Lostwithiel Town Council
  • Marazion Town Council
  • Padstow Town Council
  • Penryn Town Council
  • Penzance Town Council
  • Porthleven Town Council
  • Redruth Town Council
  • Saltash Town Council
  • St. Austell Town Council
  • St. Blaise Town Council
  • St. Columb Major Town Council
  • St. Ives Town Council
  • St. Just In Penwith Town Council
  • Torpoint Town Council
  • Truro City Council
  • Wadebridge Town Council

Devon

  • East Devon District Council
  • Exeter City Council
  • Mid Devon District Council
  • North Devon Council
  • South Hams District Council
  • Teignbridge District Council
  • Torridge District Council
  • West Devon Borough Council

Dorset

  • Dorset Council

Gloucestershire

  • Cheltenham Borough Council
  • Cotswolds District Council
  • Forest of Dean District Council
  • Gloucester City Council
  • Gloucestershire County Council
  • Stroud District Council

Somerset

  • Mendip District Council
  • Sedgemoor District Council
  • South Somerset District Council
  • Somerset County Council
  • Somerset West and Taunton Council

Wiltshire

  • Amesbury Town Council
  • Bradford on Avon Town Council
  • Calne Town Council
  • Chippenham Town Council
  • Corsham Town Council
  • Cricklade Town Council
  • Devizes Town Council
  • Durrington Town Council
  • Ludgershall Town Council
  • Malmesbury Town Council
  • Malborough Town Council
  • Melksham Town Council
  • Mere Town Council
  • Royal Wootton Bassett Town Council
  • Salisbury City Council
  • Tidworth Town Council
  • Trowbridge Town Council
  • Warminster Town Council
  • Westbury Town Council
  • Wilton Town Council
  • Wiltshire County Council

BNG Requirements Within Planning

A mandatory component in planning projects moving forward that aims to enhance biodiversity value following the completion of developments, the concept of biodiversity net gain was included in the Environment Act 2021. In order for BNG to work, a measurement must be recorded prior to the development. A second measurement would then be anticipated for once the development has been conducted using the plans of the project and communication with the developer.

Between the two measurements, any deficit can be eliminated and the necessary 10% net gains of biodiversity can be initiated. As things stand, the government are allowing a two-year transition period to give local authorities and developers an opportunity to become better accustomed to the policy before needing to integrate it into their projects. Despite that, many local planning authorities are already insisting upon demonstration of adherence to the policy from anyone developing in areas within their domain.

Solutions and Services for Biodiversity Net Gain

Originally presented as a primary method of combatting climate change within the 2018 spring statement, biodiversity net gain was worked into legislation by November 2021. Considering such a speedy transformation from a concept to an active part of UK law, it comes as no shock to find that many developers haven’t been able to fully come to terms with the policy and how it could impact their projects.

In many cases, the same has been true of ecological consultancies, who have been staggered with attempting to harness a sufficiently comprehensive understanding of biodiversity net gain. Our ecologists, however, have kept a keen eye on BNG since its inception in 2018, making them the best people to work with when it comes to meeting the mandate and achieving a successful planning application. Using the expertise and insights from our ecologists, you will have a biodiversity net gain plan with all of the information needed to satisfy the demands of the policy and your local planning authority.

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Even during the two-year transition process, the safest option would be to treat the policy as if it were already in place, avoiding any issues that could arise from attempting to force elements of BNG into your project late into the process. By treating BNG as an applicable policy, all bases will be covered and any time-consuming and costly delays will be entirely eliminated.

Our BNG assessments and plans give you all of the information about your site and project, and the crucial next steps required to meet the rules of biodiversity net gain. In the eyes of local councils, BNG plans are seen as tangible and reliable evidence that a licensed, qualified and capable ecological consultant has undertaken a BNG survey. As a result, outcomes from the assessment will play a significant role in the process of gaining planning consent.

Before you commit to us, we will offer you a free quote. All you need to do is contact us by calling the number above or filling in our online quote form. We will then create a no obligation quote using the specifications of your site and project, and once you confirm that you are happy to move forwards, we will set a date to visit your site to begin the process of creating your BNG plan and pushing your development through planning.