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New housing and infrastructure developments must be conscious of the importance of protecting and enhancing the environment.

New housing and infrastructure developments must be conscious of the importance of protecting and enhancing the environment.

Environment Minister Rebecca Pow launched a consultation today to discuss plans to protect wildlife and enhance development.

The Biodiversity Netgain consultation will assist communities and planners as well as developers and local planning authorities to ensure that new developments are natural positive. This means that they place biodiversity and nature at the core of all decision-making.

Biodiversity Net Gain refers to a method of development that preserves biodiversity and compensates for any impacts with natural habitats and ecological features that are more than what is being affected.

Developments must be done in a way that reduces and restores biodiversity loss, and also delivers a 10% boost to biodiversity. It will create thriving natural areas for local communities. This is a key component of the Government’s plans to rebuild the country from the pandemic.

The Government also announced a new funding pool of over 4million to assist Local Planning Authorities and other local authorities in planning oversight. This will help prepare for Biodiversity net Gain, which will become mandatory after Royal Assent to the Environment Act.

The funding will be used to help Local Planning Authorities increase their ecologist resource, upskill ecologist team members, and to collaborate with communities to achieve biodiversity gains. This includes helping to restore wildlife, plants, and landscapes after construction work has been completed. This can be done on the site or elsewhere in the area. If this is not possible, credits can be purchased for nature restoration elsewhere within England.

Environment Minister, Rebecca Pow, said:

The pandemic has shown us how important our outdoor spaces, communities, and homes are to us. Our desire to build more quality homes can be matched by our commitment to the protection and enhancement of our natural world.

Our plans to ensure that new developments better protect wildlife and nature will create better places to live and work. It will also ensure that our environment is left in a better condition for future generations.

The consultation and related documents that are being announced today were developed with the advice of Natural England, the government’s statutory nature body.

Tony Juniper, Chair for Natural England, stated:

Investing to restore Nature is a top national priority. Biodiversity net gain is an innovative and ambitious way to do that. It can bring real-life benefits such as funding for Nature’s recovery and ensuring that the natural environment is left in a better condition than before.

It is important that we remember that the goal is to avoid harm. We will only move to net gain arrangements when all other planning requirements are met. Natural England’s technical knowledge was instrumental in shaping this policy. I look forward to using it to ensure better outcomes for Nature and streamline the planning process.

Christopher Pincher MP, Housing Minister, said:

We can ensure that future generations are able to enjoy a healthy natural environment and provide the homes they need by focusing on wildlife and nature when planning and developing.

This is all part our plan to level the country and transform communities into places where people want to live, work and play. All those involved in the housing industry are encouraged to participate in this important consultation.

See Also

The mandatory Biodiversity net gain requirement will help achieve better outcomes for people and nature by ensuring that developers take part in reducing habitat loss, and invest in mitigations to protect the environment.

This consultation invites developers, planning authorities and environmental professionals to share their opinions on how biodiversity net gains should be achieved when building new housing or commercial developments.

Although some practitioners, planners, and developers have been following a Biodiversity Net Gain strategy voluntarily or in accordance with local planning policies, the standardised, mandatory approach proposed would give them clarity on the Biodiversity Net Gain requirement as well as how to enhance the environment through development.

The consultation closes at 5 p.m. on April 20, 2022. You can find the details here Here.

Today’s announcement is part the Government’s commitments to address climate change and threats to biodiversity, as well as the Environment Act.

The Environment Act will provide the most ambitious environment programme of any country and drive forward action for nature protection and biodiversity improvement, including a target to stop species loss by 2030.

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