Is Your Planning Application British Standard for Biodiversity (BS42020) Compliant?

Posted by Sara King BSc (Hons) MCIEEM on 4/03/2016

The British Standard for Biodiversity BS42020 was published in 2013 and the Ecosulis quality system meets the requirements of the standard; however, it is only just starting to filter into planning applications and is becoming increasing recognised as a standard to adhere to. The standard was written for Ecological Consultants, Local Planning Authority ecologists, and anyone else in the ecology profession, to provide a national standard of working. The standard has been written to be used throughout the UK, independent of legislation and policy.

There are several benefits to working with an ecologist who is compliant with the British Standard, including:

Proportionality of survey work – the British Standard emphasises that survey works should be proportionate to the scheme or impact, and that professional judgement should be used to determine the survey effort required. This means that experienced ecologists can, in some circumstances, deviate from the guidelines if this can be justified.

Collaboration – at Ecosulis we have always seen multidisciplinary collaboration as a key component to successful schemes and planning applications. We are always keen to emphasise that early engagement in layouts can save time and money. The British Standards emphasise this and encourage collaboration amongst disciplines.

Outcome Focus – the standard includes guidelines to encourage a more outcome orientated approach. This encourages consultants and planners to focus on the outcomes of the scheme, and only undertake surveys/incorporate mitigation where it is required rather than to follow a ‘tick box exercise’. We strongly believe that surveys should not be undertaken for the sake of it.

Level playing field – the British Standard includes information to both consultants as well as planners to ensure a level playing field when assessing schemes and impact assessments/mitigation strategies.

Clarification of Key Terms – terminology can sometimes be misleading, so the guidelines try to standardise terms.

Adding Weight to Planning Applications - one of the most important benefits of following the British Standard is that a project that has the ability to say that it adheres to the standard will add weight to the application, and should be less prone to criticism.

Ecosulis’ practices and report templates comply with this British Standard, to ensure that we always provide quality ecological support for your planning application, as well as post-planning works and you experience better outcomes on your projects.