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.
National Planning Policy Framework
The National Planning Policy Framework requires all schemes to show an ecological enhancement. This can sometimes cause problems when designing masterplans especially if layouts have been fixed before ecological input is sought. It can be very costly to incorporate large areas of green space within fixed layouts if consideration to biodiversity has not been given at the design stage. Early engagement with an ecologist is key, but we have also provided a summary of easy wins and dos/don’ts when designing your development layout.
When it comes to the environment, regulations are important in order to make sure that local environments are properly protected however they can be complicated and contradictory. To address this, Smarter Guidance is being developed by Defra to cover various environmental issues including:
On 27 March 2012, the UK Government published its final version of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), which sets out the Government's planning policies for England and how they should be applied.
The final NPPF is an improvement (for nature conservation) over the initial draft that went out for consultation in 2011, however there are still some concerns.
Ecosulis is a member of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Biodiversity, who recently prepared this useful summary regarding the biodiversity strategy for England published last week. A copy of the strategy can be accessed here.