Draft NPPF: requirement for ‘biodiversity gain’ strengthened

The draft NPPF includes a potentially significant change with respect to new development delivering ‘biodiversity gain’. Under the current NPPF, planning and development should minimise impacts on biodiversity and provide net gains, ‘where possible’. Under the new draft guidance, ‘where possible’ has been removed. The implications of this change are that biodiversity gains and losses would need to be clearly quantified for planning applications, for example using biodiversity metrics.  Where a net deficit was identified, it may increase the onus on developers to deliver off-site compensation (biodiversity offsetting) to ensure policy compliance. Will this policy change finally bring landowners into the marketplace to help deliver offsets? And if so, at what cost to developers? As many of you will know, the consultation on the draft NPPF closes on 10 May.

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