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New planning guidance on Biodiversity Net Gain

Last Modified January 24, 2024
New housing, commercial and infrastructure developments are set to be ‘nature positive’ thanks to the council’s latest planning document.

Following public consultation we've adopted a Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) on Biodiversity Net Gain, which aims to ensure new developments will be delivered in a way which protects and enhances nature, while providing high quality developments.

This SPD provides guidance for developers, applicants and ecological consultants on how planning applications can satisfy the requirement for delivering Biodiversity Net Gain within Hertsmere.

Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) was introduced through the Environment Act 2021 and is part of the wider aim to help halt the decline in species abundance by 2030. It makes sure development has a positive impact on biodiversity and will leave the natural environment in a measurably better state than beforehand. A BNG of 10% will become a mandatory legal requirement for all major planning applications from 12 February 2024, and for most of other types of development from 2 April onwards. 

Our SPD provides guidance on how we are interpreting BNG legislation and sets out Hertsmere’s approach to the mitigation hierarchy, which explains that if ecological improvements cannot be achieved within the development site that alternative sites are considered in order of distance from the application site. It also sets out the pre-application process in relation to BNG, and the information we want to see submitted with planning applications, to help us check that a 10% improvement can be delivered. 

Cllr Nik Oakley, Portfolio Holder for Planning Infrastructure and Transport, said: “Biodiversity Net Gain will ensure new developments work for both wildlife and people. The aim is to ensure we create nature-rich places whilst ensuring communities get the new homes and infrastructure they need.

“We have worked hard to integrate Biodiversity Net Gain into the planning system locally and our guidelines have been created to help developers navigate and build on these important new requirements, ensuring new developments in our borough deliver local biodiversity benefits.”

Our Supplementary Planning Document on Biodiversity Net Gain can be found on our Biodiversity Net Gain page

Posted on Tuesday 23rd January 2024

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