Guide Planning and Biodiversity

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1. Introduction

East Devon’s natural environment is home to a wide variety of rare and special habitats and species and includes a varied patchwork of deep valleys, riverside meadows, ancient woodlands, lowland heaths, low-lying farmland and historic parkland. East Devon District Council has a legal duty to protect, conserve and enhance biodiversity and to ensure protected species and habitats within East Devon are protected by law.

Why Do I Need to Consider Biodiversity?

Biodiversity is a material consideration when determining planning applications and as such is carefully considered when the Planning Officer makes a decision on your application. Most development in East Devon is required to deliver net gain for biodiversity; this must be demonstrated when submitting a planning application. We require adequate information to inform our decisions; without this we cannot be certain of the impacts of the proposal. Determination of your application may be delayed, or permission refused if this information is not submitted.

Applicant are encouraged to use the Council's Pre-App Advice Service to further understand the specific requirements in relation to their site.

The Process

When assessing planning applications Local Planning Authorities refer to GOV Standing Advice, Development Plan policy and Neighbourhood Plans. The .GOV advice helps to assess whether a planning application would harm or disturb a protected species and helps decide if planning permission can be granted. It also includes more detailed consideration of legally protected and notable species.

The East Devon Validation Checklist provides details of when ecological surveys will be required to support a planning application. The Devon County Council Wildlife and geology planning guidance provides further information and should also be referred to before submitting an application. You should first complete a Wildlife Checklist. This will help clarify whether a wildlife survey report will be required to support your planning application.

The advance planning of ecological impacts should always be considered early on in a project. Some developments may require the recording of ecological data over an extended period to accurately assess the impacts and determine the most suitable mitigation strategy.

If it has been determined the proposed development is likely to affect protected/priority species and/or habitats and/or other nature conservation features, then ecological surveys will be required, and their results submitted to the authority.