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Planning and Biodiversity Seminar 2021

11 February 2021, Webinar

Organised by Suffolk Biodiversity Information Service, Norfolk County Council and Place Services Essex County Council in collaboration with the Association of Local Government Ecologists (ALGE)

View the recording of the webinar here


Click on an image below to open or download the presentations

Presentation 1 Presentation 1
Presentation 2 Presentation 2
Presentation 3 Presentation 3
Presentation 4 Presentation 4
Presentation 5 Presentation 5


Presentation summaries

1: Biodiversity Net Gain Update

Dr Nick White, Principal Advisor, Natural England

A broad introduction to current and future developments relating to biodiversity net gain. Encompassing existing national policy and guidance relating to biodiversity net gain, but will focus principally on the forthcoming mandatory biodiversity net gain requirements as set out in the Environment Bill. It also highlights some additional related requirements within the Bill, namely Local Nature Recovery Strategies and Conservation Covenants. Biodiversity net gain (both mandatory and non-mandatory) is predicated in part on the use of a biodiversity metric. The presentation introduces the forthcoming Biodiversity Metric 3.0 – the metric for use will become a legal requirement under mandatory biodiversity net gain but also has wider potential applications. The presentation will then go on to look at what is happening outside of the Bill with respect to biodiversity net gain and NSIPs and highlight some of the early work now underway on marine net gain. Lastly, it will highlight the work underway to move beyond biodiversity net gain to environmental net gain.

2: A developer's perspective on Biodiversity Net Gain

Dr Julia Baker, Biodiversity Technical Specialist, Balfour Beatty

The presentation gives insights and practical advice about achieving Biodiversity Net Gain on development projects. This includes design innovations to apply the mitigation hierarchy, key pointers to maximise benefits of the biodiversity metric without losing sight of the complexities of the natural environment, and pitfalls to avoid. The presentation also highlights a new study on links between Biodiversity Net Gain and people’s wellbeing.

3: Applying Net Gain in Greater Manchester

Krista Patrick, Natural Capital Coordinator, Greater Manchester Environment Team

The Greater Manchester Combined Authority, in partnership with the 10 local planning authorities, Natural England and other partners, has been developing a Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) delivery model since 2018. This aims to put Greater Manchester in a strong position and ensure it is well-prepared to implement BNG once it becomes mandatory. Krista Patrick, Natural Capital Coordinator at GMCA will provide an overview of Greater Manchester’s strategic plans for recovering nature including the new LNRS pilot as well as the Greater Manchester Environment Fund as well as the practicalities of delivering BNG.

4: Biodiversity Net Gain from a Wildlife Trust perspective

Dr Rachel Giles, Evidence and Planning Manager, Cheshire Wildlife Trust

For over 50 years the Wildlife Trusts have been highlighting the unfolding wildlife catastrophe. Through our work, and that of other organisations, there have been some notable successes but the trend is still moving in the wrong direction. In 2019 the State of Nature report identified that 13% of species in Great Britain are currently threatened with extinction, mainly due to the loss and degradation of habitats. With climate change set to exacerbate these losses several forward-thinking councils across the country have now declared a joint ‘Climate and Ecological emergency’.

For the first time across the board, there seems to be a real willingness to address the core issues and the concept of Biodiversity Net Gain is at the heart of this. Although put forward as a planning tool BNG is so much more than this. For the Wildlife Trusts it is not about achieving positive numbers in a metric output, but adhering to the BNG good practise principles that will bring about real change. This talk will explore how and why the Wildlife Trusts are engaging with BNG and why this changes everything from the way we engage with developers, planners and the planning system to the work we are doing on the ground to create and restore habitats and help wildlife recover. It will also explore some of the issues we’ve encountered through this engagement.

5: Using Biodiversity Net Gain to drive landscape-scale change

Mike Edwards, Business Manager, Norfolk FWAG and Glenn Anderson, Managing Partner of Dillington Hall Estate

An overview of the Wendling Beck Exemplar Partnership (WBEP) project. The project is a collaboration of six landowners, Norfolk FWAG, Norfolk Rivers Trust, Norfolk Wildlife Trust, Norfolk County Council and Anglian Water. It is supported by The Nature Conservancy and Natural England and has evolved to become a multi-faceted Natural Capital project underpinned by the emerging Biodiversity Net Gain policy. It is also one of the nine Natural England Biodiversity Net Gain Credit Scheme Pilots in the UK.

The project is focused around the catchment of the Wendling Beck river, just North of Dereham with a project area of just under 2000 acres. Whilst it is still in the planning phase, it has become a story of habitat creation, nature restoration, social impact and regenerative agriculture at a landscape scale.

It is a brilliant example of teamwork and collaboration between catchment operators and demonstrates what can be achieved when neighbouring landowners and key stakeholders work together with a shared vision and ambition.