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Property developers to go green or go without a home build

Property developers biodiversity blog

According to new plans, property developers will have to consider the environment within their plans more than ever before. Both residential and commercial builds will be required to have their habitats assessed before planning applications are submitted.

This plan will follow a new consultation, which is open until February 2019. The aim is to force developers to ensure wildlife is enhanced and left in a better state than before the development took place.

Developers will need to conduct a full assessment of the type of habitat and its condition. Car parks and industrial sites would usually come lower on this scale, while more natural grasslands and woodlands would be given a much higher ranking for their environmental importance. From this, improvements to biodiversity will need to be demonstrated. For example through the creation of green corridors, planting more trees, or forming local nature spaces.

Government involvement

The announcement comes from Environment Secretary Michael Gove. He said: “Our commitment to protecting and enhancing our natural world can go hand in hand with our ambition to build more high quality homes. Mandating biodiversity net gain puts the environment at the heart of planning and development. This will not only create better places for people to live and work, but ensure we leave our environment in a better state for future generations”

“In addition to upholding planning protections for sensitive sites such as ancient woodland and sites of special scientific interest, the consultation builds on the experiences of local authorities and developers who have already adopted net gain approaches.”

Gove acknowledged that many developers already have environmental impacts high on their agenda but however it is now time to have a standard in place across the board.

Current players

Developer, the Berkley Group, has already committed to creating a net biodiversity gain within all their development sites and are currently working with London Wildlife Trust to build Kidbrooke Village in East London, a new 4,800 home village development that contains 20 hectares of parkland.

Warwickshire County Council has trialled and implemented a system to ensure all developments lead to no net loss of biodiversity, with each development preparing a Biodiversity Impact Assessment prior to building.

According to Andrew Sells, chairman of Natural England, which has given extensive advice to Government on Net Gain, it is an ambitious idea that has the potential to bring significant benefits for our declining wildlife and the environment as a whole.

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