Residents

How do I complete the Biodiversity Checklist?

Introduction

Peterborough is one of the few Environment Cities and is proud to be the UK’s Home of Environment Capital, as such takes its environmental responsibilities very seriously. Among these is included Peterborough’s Wildlife which is a valued characteristic important to Peterborough both locally and in the wider context.

In addition recent changes to planning guidance and legislation necessitate the implementation of a mechanism to ensure that adequate ecological information accompanies planning applications. Peterborough has also been identified as an area for major growth and expansion making the necessity of the consideration and incorporation of wildlife provision in to all new development essential.

The biodiversity checklist and these associated guidance notes are intended to address these requirements through a proactive approach that will not only ensure that sufficient ecological information accompanies an application, but which will also be transparent and offer assistance to applicants to help them determine what will reasonably be required to accompany a planning application. This should help to allow a planning decision to be made in a timely manner, which is beneficial for both the planning applicant and the planning authority.

Who should complete the biodiversity checklist and what sort of applications will the it be required for?

It should be possible for a non specialist member of the public, planning agent or developer to complete the checklist. However once the need for an ecological survey has been identified this must be undertaken by a suitably qualified ecologist. Where a specialist piece of design to retain a feature had been identified it is expected that this would be informed through the involvement and input of a suitably qualified ecologist.

  • All applications (other than those creating no additional floor space) must be accompanied by a completed Biodiversity Checklist.

Where the Biodiversity Checklist points to species/ habitats being present which may be adversely affected by the proposal, the application is to be accompanied by an appropriate species survey(s).

The survey must provide details of: -

  • How species/ habitats will not be harmed; or
  • Mitigation and compensation measures proposed e.g. timing works to avoid disturbance, provision of suitable nest boxes, provision of new native planting etc.
  • In addition, opportunities for Biodiversity Gain should be considered such as new wildlife ponds, wild-flower planting etc.

How to use these guidance notes

This guidance note has been produced to help you use the Biodiversity Checklist and know what further action is appropriate. As the checklist is intended to cover most local scenarios for development and wildlife these guidance are notes are necessarily extensive in nature. They are however split down against the various questions included in the checklist; it should therefore be possible to quickly locate those guidance notes which are relevant to the issues that the checklist has highlighted for your proposal.

Further action for questions 2-6

Peterborough City Council has a duty to consider the conservation of biodiversity when determining a planning application; this includes having regard to the safeguard of species protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended), the Conservation of Habitats & Species Regulations 2010 (The Habitats Regulations) or the Protection of Badgers Act 1992.

Where you have answered yes to any of questions 2 to 6, relevant protected species survey work should be carried out by a suitably experienced ecologist and a report a must accompany the planning application.

Alternatively you may provide evidence (e.g. statement from a suitably qualified ecologist) to demonstrate that no priority species or habitats are likely to be impacted on by your proposals to rule out the need for further survey work.

Any surveys or information identified as required by the checklist should accompany a planning application or it may be considered to be invalid. You should contact the planning authority for a pre-application discussion if you are unclear about the requirements or believe that the checklist has incorrectly identified that survey work is required.

Further information with respect to survey standards and impact assessment can be found via the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management website: http://www.cieem.net

Further action for question 7

Peterborough City Council has a duty to consider the conservation of biodiversity when determining a planning application; this includes having regard to the safeguard of designated sites and priority habitats. Where a proposed development is likely to affect such a site or habitat feature, please provide further evidence with your planning submission including the amount (m2) of affected sites. Please also state the relevant section within your Environmental Statement where this information may be found.

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