The Government has published proposals for a consultation which would require developers to assess site conditions and habitats, before submitting a planning application.

Under the new rules, developers would be mandated to deliver a ‘biodiversity net gain’ when building new housing or commercial developments – meaning habitats for wildlife would have to be enhanced and left in a measurably better state than they were pre-development.

Developers would need to demonstrate how they are improving biodiversity – such as through the creation of green corridors, planting more trees, or forming local nature spaces. Green improvements on-site would be encouraged, but where they are not possible, the consultation proposes to charge developers a levy to pay for habitat creation or improvement elsewhere.

Some developers already follow the biodiversity net gain approach voluntarily, but the Government claims that the proposed standardised, mandatory approach would give them clarity and certainty on how to improve the environment through development, while also considering whether any sites, such as small and brownfield sites, should be exempt from the rules.

The Government now aims to work collaboratively with developers, statutory authorities, tourism services, energy providers and waste specialists “to better understand how profitable development can be a driving force of environmental improvement.”

The consultation follows the National Planning Policy Framework in July 2018 which outlined stronger protections for the environment. The Government hopes that the consultation will help them to fulfil its aim to use and manage land sustainably, as outlined in the 25 Year Environment Plan.

The consultation will run to the 10th February, 2019, and you are able to contribute to the consultation here.

How TFA can help?

TFA is a specialist in leading communications campaigns; developing engagement strategies; and providing strategic advice and counsel. We design political and policy engagement programmes with key decision makers and influencers to develop a network of supportive political, industry and stakeholder “advocates” to further our clients’ interests.

TFA was previously successful in engaging with Government regarding the NPPF. Our effective engagement strategy led to Government taking forward our recommendations and MHCLG publishing a technical consultation on updates to national planning policy and guidance in line with our recommendations. Full details of the case study can be seen here.