Enhancing Biodiversity in Developments
Barnsley Council, in line with the NPPF, supports developments that integrate opportunities to enhance and improve biodiversity in and around development sites as part of their design. NPPF 180d
Enhanced biodiversity and green infrastructure provide benefits for residents, employees, customers or visitors as well as wildlife.
Even small-scale schemes and permitted development may provide opportunities to enhance biodiversity and support wildlife for example Swift or Bat bricks, living roofs and wildflower planting.
Biodiversity enhancement may include:
Developments can incorporate biodiversity enhancements through for example choosing a sustainable drainage system or landscaping using plants that attract pollinating insects.
Local planning polices promote enlarging, enhancing and connecting existing wildlife sites, creating new sites, and providing joined up and resilient ecological networks. This is all the more important when the threats to wildlife are considered.
The introduction of a mandatory requirement for developments to achieve a net gain in biodiversity (biodiversity net gain or BNG), maintained for 30 years, promotes the contribution made by developers in this wider vision.
Developments that have the purpose of conserving and enhancing biodiversity, or enhance public access to nature where this is appropriate, are supported. (NPPF 180d)
As well as setting out this approach in its Green Infrastructure Strategy, Barnsley Council has identified a Nature Improvement Area (NIA) in the Dearne Valley as giving particular opportunities for developments to contribute to this vision at a landscape scale. Additional requirements in the ‘Dearne Valley Green Heart NIA’ are set out in Barnsley Council’s Supplementary Planning Document.
Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG)
The Environment Act 2021 stipulates a mandatory net gain in biodiversity for developments. It requires at least a 10% increase in biodiversity after development, compared to the level of biodiversity prior to the development taking place, as measured by a Defra metric. This applies from November 2023 (small sites April 2024).
BNG may be achieved onsite, by offsite offsetting or through a combination of the two. Offsite credits for BNG may be purchased through BNG Habitat Land Banks. Landowners and managers can bring forward sites for BNG credits.
Habitat features and measures to support wildlife species include