Following increasing public interest and concern for the environment, the Government has published guidance on how developers can protect our natural environment and achieve important benefits for wildlife.
The guidance, published last month, builds on the Government’s ‘planning rulebook’ which encourages environmental and biodiversity ‘net gain’, an approach to development that leaves the natural environment in a measurably better state than it was beforehand.
Communities secretary, the Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP, said:
“Building the new homes this country needs must not come at the detriment of our natural heritage. It’s right that as we deliver houses for people, we must also provide homes for wildlife too – whether that’s for hedgehogs, frogs, newts or birds.”
Suggestions put forward to help achieve ‘biodiversity net gain’ included:
- Incorporation of ‘swift bricks’ and ‘bat boxes’ in developments which allow for nesting accommodation in the brickwork;
- The creation of ‘hedgehog highways’ which involves creating holes and access points in fences to link up gardens to provide safe routes for hedgehogs between different areas of habitat; and
- Providing green roofs, green walls or sustainable drainage systems.
Although not yet mandatory, the government have said that planning conditions or obligations can, in appropriate circumstances, be used to require that a planning permission provides for works that will measurably increase biodiversity. Developers must therefore be aware of the impact any builds are having on the environment, both during and after construction.
For further information, please see https://www.gov.uk/guidance/natural-environment#biodiversity