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Biodiversity in Waverley

Biodiversity, climate change and sustainability in Waverley

Waverley borough is rich in wildlife and now, more than ever, the need to protect our natural environment is vital. With significant benefits to our personal health and local communities, serious consideration has to be made to redress the balance.

Climate change is leading to more extreme weather events such as heat waves, flooding, wildfires and droughts. In 2019, Waverley Borough Council (WBC) declared a climate emergency, committing the council to becoming carbon neutral by 2030 as well as doing everything in its power to ensure that Waverley is a carbon neutral borough by 2030.

Biodiversity checklist and associated technical guidance

As a local validation requirement, a Biodiversity Checklist is used to identify developments which may have an impact on the natural environment. It allows developers to identify and address any nature conservation issues before a planning application is submitted.

Biodiversity checklist

Technical guidance

A completed version of this Biodiversity Checklist must be submitted with each planning application.

It is strongly advised that you consider biodiversity at the earliest possible stage in your project as there are seasonal constraints to much of the survey work that may be needed to support your application.

Climate change and sustainability SPD and checklist

Waverley have compiled a supplementary planning document (SPD) which is now a material consideration in the determination of planning applications. However, it also provides useful guidance for development permitted under the General Permitted Development Order, such as residential extensions.

As part of Waverley's committment to a greener future, there is now a checklist which has been adopted as a local validation requirement and will need to be completed as part of your application:

Climate Change and Sustainability checklist - Short

Climate Change and Sustainability checklist - Full

Which checklist do I need to complete?

  • The Climate Change and Sustainability checklist - Short is for Householder, advert consent and minor shopfront alterations
  • The Climate Change and Sustainability checklist - Full is for all other applications.

A completed version of the relevant climate change and sustainability checklist must be submitted with each planning application.

Biodiversity Net Gain

The Environment Act 2021 gained Royal assent in Autumn 2021. There is now a transitionary period of up to two years with a program of secondary legislation to be released making it mandatory for developers to consider biodiversity net gain principles for any upcoming projects.

Our borough, our responsibility: Waverley Borough Council is actively encouraging developers to be aware of and introduce these measures into current developments. 

What is Biodiversity Net Gain?

Biodiversity net gain (BNG) is an approach to development and land management, that aims to leave the natural environment in a measurably better state than it was beforehand. The Biodiversity Metric is designed to provide ecologists, developers, planners and other interested parties with a means of assessing changes in biodiversity value (losses or gains) brought about by development or changes in land management.

Under the Environment Act 2021, planning permissions granted for larger projects in England, with a few exemptions, have to deliver 10% biodiversity net gain from February 2024. The requirement for smaller sites came into force in April 2024.

BNG will be measured using Defra’s biodiversity metric and habitats will need to be secured for at least 30 years.

What is its purpose and how will it benefit the local environment?

The Environment Act sets out the following key components of mandatory biodiversity gain:

  • Amends Town & Country Planning Act (TCPA)

  • Minimum 10% gain required calculated using the Biodiversity Metric & approval of a biodiversity gain plan

  • Habitat secured for at least 30 years via planning obligations or conservation covenants

  • Delivered on-site, off-site or via a new statutory biodiversity credits scheme

  • National register for net gain delivery site

Further information, including FAQs, can be found on the Planning Advisory Service website.