Enhancing the environment to be at centre of new housing

Environment Minister Rebecca Pow has launched a consultation that sets out plans to ensure wildlife can be better protected and enhanced in developments.

The proposals set out in the Biodiversity Net Gain consultation will help communities, planners, developers and Local Planning Authorities ensure new developments are ‘nature positive’, meaning that they put nature and biodiversity gain at the heart of all decision-making and design.

Developments will have to be delivered in a way which helps to reduce and restore any biodiversity loss during the building phase, and crucially also deliver a 10 per cent boost to the area’s biodiversity.

The government has also announced a new funding pot of over £4 million to help Local Planning Authorities and other local authorities with planning oversight, to prepare for Biodiversity Net Gain which will become mandatory two years after Royal Assent of the Environment Act.

Pow said: “The pandemic has reinforced how much our homes, communities and outdoor spaces mean to us. Our commitment to protecting and enhancing our natural world can and must go hand in hand with our ambition to build more high quality homes. Our plans to make sure new developments better protect and enhance wildlife and nature will create better places for people to live and work, and it will ensure we leave our environment in a better state for future generations.”

Housing Minister Christopher Pincher added: “By focusing on wildlife and nature in planning and development we can make sure that we protect and improve our cherished natural environment for future generations, as well as delivering the homes this country needs. This is all part of our plan to level up the country and transform our communities into places people want to live and work. I encourage all those in the housing industry to share their views in this important consultation.”

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