Call for Biodiversity Sites Guidance Note

Biodiversity Net Gain is a new planning requirement in the 2021 Environment Act. It aims to leave biodiversity in a measurably better state than before the development takes place.

It is mandatory for all major development from the 12 February 2024. It will be mandatory for small sites from the 2 April 2024 and for Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIP) from 2025.

The forthcoming Bassetlaw Local Plan requires development to identify and incorporate biodiversity net gain in line with the Environment Act.

Biodiversity net gain should be measured by the statutory biodiversity metric.

Delivery is expected within the development site in the first instance. Where this cannot be achieved on site, developers may purchase units from landowners to deliver biodiversity on land in the district. If there is not enough biodiversity land in the district developers will need to look elsewhere. Further information is on our Biodiversity Net Gain Guidance Page.

Selling units will help farmers, landowners and land managers provide biodiversity benefits to their land. It can also help manage flood risk on site, as well as on land up and downstream and can help reduce the impact of climate change in a natural way.

What type of land could be considered?

All sites, except private gardens, will be considered – including in and on the edge of towns/villages and in the countryside, with a preference for the following:

There is no minimum or maximum site area, proposals of any size or scale will be considered. It could include land that is significant in joining up the landscape such as field margins or land near watercourses or part of an amenity space.

Ultimately, we are looking for bigger, better, and more joined up habitat for wildlife.

A site being used for biodiversity, flood management or for carbon storage means that managing the site for that use becomes the primary objective of that land.

Existing and new Agri-environment schemes such as Countryside Stewardship Scheme have rules around compliance and double funding. These would need to be considered and may preclude such land being used.

Landscape considerations

Any habitat created needs to be consistent with the landscape character of the area to achieve the best outcomes for biodiversity.

The management should also work with soil conditions and geology of the area.

The Bassetlaw Landscape Character Assessment summarises the different landscape character types, the actions that can be taken for nature and the key sensitivities to consider in each part of the district.

Management duration

The site would need to be kept for biodiversity, natural flood management or for carbon storage for a minimum of 30 years.

What benefits does a biodiversity site have?

The Council understands that landowners need to think carefully about making decisions about their land for the next 30 years. Submitting a site now is an expression of interest, it does not provide a commitment to using the land for biodiversity in the future.

Each site will be different, and each landowner will have their own needs and priorities to think about.

There are several delivery mechanisms available for landowners/land managers to take forward suitable projects including biodiversity net gain from new development and selling carbon credits from tree planting to help manage climate change.

Landowners that choose to use their land for biodiversity will be able to sell the biodiversity units from that land to developers. Developers will also have to provide maintenance contributions to support any biodiversity provided for 30 years.

Next Steps

All submitted biodiversity and natural flood management sites will be considered. It will be necessary to develop these further with landowners/land managers and other partners including Nottinghamshire County Council.

We should develop sites with the County Council because they are producing the Nottinghamshire Local Nature Recovery Strategy which looks to contribute to improving the natural environment across the County by supporting bigger, better and more joined up nature.

Last Updated on Wednesday, March 20, 2024