BNG Plans in Warwickshire

As one of the first local councils in the country to enforce biodiversity net gain, Warwickshire County Council require clear evidence that the policy has been considered within the majority of development proposals. Without a suitably comprehensive BNG plan, it will be difficult to envisage successfully achieving planning permission.

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Efforts to Follow the Biodiversity Net Gain Policy

Originally introduced into UK law in November 2021 as part of the Environment Act, the biodiversity net gain (BNG) policy has emerged as a biodiversity offsetting scheme and a tangible method of retaining and enhancing the standard of the environment in land and property developments. Under the rule, conservation activities compensate for development in a measurable way, with developers required to guarantee a 10% increase to biodiversity value after the planning project on top of retaining the site’s existing value.

It is possible to judge whether the BNG condition has been met based on the calculations of two measurements: one for the current value of the site and one for the predicted value of the site after the development. Any deficit between the two measurements as well as a minimum 10% increase will need to be achieved. Without evidence of this, the local planning authority will be unable to grant a planning application on the site, affecting both minor and major applications.

From February 2024 onwards, BNG will be a legal policy requirement in a predominant number of planning projects, barring a handful of exemptions. Local authorities are given the option to waive adherence to the rule prior to this date, but as Warwickshire County Council and other local councils can demand demonstration of the policy at any time, it would be advisable to follow suit ahead of time.

Warwickshire Ecology and Wildlife

Situated in the West Midlands region, the county of Warwickshire displays a mix of historic towns and expansive rural areas. Ever since the concept of biodiversity net gain was first announced, the local authorities showed an interest in operating compliantly with it due to the positive impact it can have on the natural environment in relation to new developments. Back in 2019, Warwickshire County Council reached out to Natural England, requesting to act as one of six pioneering local authorities to trial biodiversity net gain ahead of time.

In addition to trialling BNG early into the process, the county’s authorities also pushed for the planning policy to offer more to Warwickshire. For example, BNG was welcomed so much that, instead of enforcing the expected 10% increase to value, Warwickshire County Council immediately opted to enforce 20%. The county’s green spaces and present wildlife are also protected by Warwickshire Wildlife Trust, and between the trust and the local council, it is possible to guarantee minimal damage to the natural world as a result of biodiversity net gain.

Measuring Biodiversity Value on a Development Site

Created with the intention of displaying evidence of adherence to the BNG planning requirement, a completed biodiversity net gain plan can be passed on to the local authority to support applications for planning consent. Before one can be made, however, an ecologist will need to conduct an inspection of the site, recording all ecological features including protected species of animals and plants to establish a pre-development biodiversity value.

A post-development biodiversity value will then be predicted based on tangible evidence about the planning project, such as site plans, development proposals and detailed conversations with the developer. Between the two values, any deficit will need to be eliminated before building on it by a further 10% increase. To meet the planning requirement and adhere to legislation surrounding protected species, rare or valuable animals and plants will be judged within a mitigation hierarchy, with complete avoidance ranking as the priority outcome.

If it is not possible to avoid protected species on the development site, the mitigation hierarchy will call for minimisation of impact in terms of biodiversity loss, other parts of the site to be restored, or unavoidable impacts to be offset elsewhere. The ecological consultant will also need to improvise suggested changes and additions to the development plans that will see the value achieve retention and the 10% increase. Upon completion, the BNG plan will be handed to the local planning authority, leaving no reason but for them to grant planning consent.

Contact Our Team for a Quote

Utilising the insight and expertise of experienced and knowledgeable in-house ecological surveyors, our biodiversity net gain plans are produced at the highest quality to advise on planning decisions with the utmost accuracy. A BNG plan is a universally recognised component in the eyes of local planning authorities, making it a vitally important asset in your application to obtain planning permission and the requirement to meet corresponding policies relating to sustainable development.

All of our quotes are created independently and to incorporate the scale and size of each client’s development site and project. After you have reached out to us by calling the number above, filling out an online quote form or contacting us via the options on our contact page, our team will draft up and send across a free quote. From this point, we can decide a desirable time to attend your site for the BNG assessment, create your BNG plan and begin helping you to meet the protocols of your local council and reach the next stage of the development.