Biodiversity and development management
The consideration of biodiversity matters is an important part of the determination of a planning application and is guided by various national, regional and local policies. The key policies are Policy 9 of the Cotswold District Local Plan and the National Planning Policy Framework. More information on Biodiversity and Planning Policy is available on the web-site.
It is usually very valuable to enter into pre-application discussions with the Local Planning Authority before submitting a planning application. Please note that there may be a charge for pre-application advice, dependant on the size and complexity of your proposals.
Our Biodiversity Officers will need a sufficient level of information so they can assess the proposals and they are unable to make any site visits without this information. You should provide:
- A location map
- A plan of the site
- Photographs of the site
- Sketch plans/description of your proposals
- Any known biodiversity constraints - designated sites; protected species; important habitats or features (e.g. hedgerows and ponds)
- Copies of any relevant biodiversity/ecological assessments
- Possible proposals for biodiversity enhancements
The application process
As part of your planning application you may be required to provide additional information. The level of information required will depend on the type, scale and complexity of the planning application, and might include a range of issues, from the details of any trees to be removed to a detailed ecological assessment and appraisal. Each application type is accompanied by a checklist, which states what information should be submitted with the application. Further guidance is available about -
Further information on how to select and appoint an appropriately qualified and experienced biodiversity/ecological consultant is available on the web-site.
It is crucial that the ecological assessment/appraisal and any ecological enhancement or habitat creation scheme is prepared in conjunction with the Arboricultural Implications Assessment and the Landscape Assessment or Scheme for the site.
Conditions with planning permission
Your planning permission may include conditions related to biodiversity and it is important that you comply with these conditions, for example measures to ensure that protected species are considered during construction; the implementation of a nature conservation management plan; and installation of habitat features, such as artificial bat and bird roosts.
The great crested newt district licensing scheme coming soon
Cotswold District Council has joined a new scheme that will deliver tangible landscape-scale conservation benefits for great crested newts, facilitate better compliance with related planning policy and save time and money for developers.
The new arrangements are based on a District Licence to be issued by Natural England to each of the local planning authorities in an extension to the “South Midlands” pilot area, which includes all the local planning authorities in Gloucestershire, West Oxfordshire, Cherwell and South Northamptonshire.
The licence would allow the local planning authority to determine planning applications and authorise works in relation to great crested newts at the same time, and is based on a regional landscape-scale conservation strategy for the species. This provides an alternative option for developers to use where planning applications might have an impact on great crested newts instead of the existing site-based licensing approach. The aim is to provide new aquatic and terrestrial habitats in locations where there will be the most chance of success in bolstering and re-connecting existing populations.
More information on the scheme and what it can do for developers and great crested newts can be found on the Nature Space website https://naturespaceuk.com/
Once the licence has been approved by Natural England and the scheme is up and running in this area, further details will be made available here.