EIR Request - Biodiversity Net Gain
1. When is the Local Planning Authority planning to introduce Biodiversity Net Gain as a mandatory requirement for all small development projects in the LPA’s jurisdiction? Please provide a specific date and a short definition of what the LPA classes as a ‘small development project’.
2. If a specific date has not yet been decided, does your Local Planning Authority intend to introduce a requirement for planning applications to include localised Biodiversity Net Gain plans for small development project within the 24 months following the passing of the Environment Bill? (Please define ‘Biodiversity Gain Plan’ as any document that is analogous to the type of document specified in the Environment Bill).
3. Is there any material that sets out what criteria a Biodiversity Gain Plan needs to meet in order to be accepted by the authority for a small development project? If such material exists please can it be attached to your response. If such material does not exist, please provide a brief description of what criteria a Biodiversity Gain Plan needs to meet within your LPA. (Again, please define ‘Biodiversity Gain Plan’ as any document that is analogous to the type of document specified in the Environment Bill).
4. Who is the official at your Local Planning Authority that is tasked with ensuring that Biodiversity Net Gain is implemented for the LPA?
5. Does the LPA’s approach to Net Gain require all ‘Biodiversity Gain Plans’ to be produced by an accredited ecologist?
1. The Moray Local Development Plan (MLDP) was adopted in July 2020 and will be replaced in July 2025. At present there is no work ongoing to introduce biodiversity net gain. Within the MLDP there is a biodiversity policy requiring biodiversity enhancement on all sites and a biodiversity plan for developments over 4 houses and 1000 sq m of commercial floor space, albeit no specific reference to biodiversity net gain.
2. Further information from the Scottish Government is awaited to consider implementation of biodiversity net gain. It is anticipated that National Planning Framework (NPF4) will set out how best the planning and development process can contribute to enhancing biodiversity. A position statement released in November 2020 highlighted opportunities around securing positive effects for biodiversity from development. It is understood that ongoing discussions are being held with key environmental stakeholders and the Scottish Government around this topic.
3. N/A as there is no material/criteria in respect of biodiversity net gain and no working definition within Moray Council.
4. There is no identified official within Moray Council tasked with the implementation of biodiversity net gain.
5. Given the response above, there is a lack of detail on approach to be able to definitively answer this question. It could be the developer will be required to provide evidence of biodiversity net gain and this would need to be prepared by a suitably qualified professional.