From 1st January 2022 planning applications in the Lake District National Park will need a biodiversity assessment undertaking. The requirement has been created through government Biodiversity Protection Legislation to conserve heritage, natural habitats and increase resilience of ecosystems. It is almost certain that all other planning authorities will create similar requirements.
The assessment consists of 2 parts:
- A survey detailing the biodiversity of the chosen site - the existing, protected and rare species, and habitat.
- A report considering the impact to habitat and how it can be avoided, mitigated or land reinstated.
There is a requirement for 110% improvement. If this means what it appears to mean then the site area of habitat gain will be larger than the site itself. It is not clear how this actually impacts on farms which already have large habitat areas.
Reports must be carried out by qualified ecologists, who will advise on the initial biodiversity, habitat provision/reinstatement and off-site improvements. It is not currently possible to price these reports, as they may vary with site size and development potential.
There are some exceptions to these requirements, and whilst agricultural buildings are not exempt, permitted development buildings are. This means that these requirements should not apply to a planning notification.
These reports appear to be quite specialist, and could be expensive. Therefore, in order to avoid this, we recommend starting your applications sooner rather than later. Alternatively, make sure to allocate an extra budget and enough time for this as part of your planning application.
Looking for more information on the latest biodiversity assessment requirements? Contact our in-house specialist to get the ball rolling and find out whether or not your building might be exempt from these changes. Get in touch today.