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Speak Up for Nature: Fareham Council Seeks Public Input on Biodiversity Requirements

Today, Fareham Borough Council launched a public consultation concerning additional guidance on biodiversity, specifically concerning the future and protection of plant and animal life.

Today, Fareham Borough Council launched a public consultation concerning additional guidance on biodiversity, specifically concerning the future and protection of plant and animal life.

Additional guidance will be established in line with the Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) Policy. This newly adopted policy was set out in the Local Plan 2037 and requires habitats for wildlife to be left in an improved condition by at least 10% after developments are made.

Guidance is provided in a Supplementary Planning Document that can be referred to by developers, planning applicants and people who reside in Fareham. This clarifies who the policy applies to, the requirements of the policy, exemptions which may exist, the council’s expectations as to where and how qualifying development should provide the BNG, and the way in which BNG is to be secured, managed and monitored and for how long.

Why does biodiversity matter?

In simple terms, biodiversity refers to the variety of life. Biodiversity is crucial for maintaining the health of ecosystems so provides human populations with a multitude of benefits such as pollination of crops, water filtration, and carbon sequestration. It is therefore vital for the agriculture industry.

The UK is a signatory to the convention on Biological Diversity. In 2010, the government committed to a set of biodiversity goals (the Aichi Biodiversity Targets). However, these have not been met as overall, the amount of farmland and woodland birds have deteriorated while little improvement has been made concerning pollinating insects.

However, the Environment Act 2021 set out new provisions — all planning applications in England will be required to demonstrate how a development will enhance biodiversity and protect habitats. Submissions must include assessments demonstrating a commitment to achieve 10% Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG). Fareham Borough Council’s Local Plan therefore aligns with this.

What is the aim of Fareham Borough Council?

Fareham Borough Council are hoping to develop and grow in a sustainable way — Sustainability has become a recent focus for many governmental organisations, both national and local. Behind this idea is the need to preserve life and nature on Earth for future generations.

Executive Member for Planning and Development Cllr Simon Martin explains how the plan aims to place environmental needs at the forefront of policy. He stated “This supplementary planning document helps to safeguard our natural assets and green spaces throughout the development process. I encourage residents to have their say on adding Biodiversity Net Gain requirements to future developments to help protect wildlife habitats long into the future.”

The Consultation will be available until 11.59pm on Tuesday 30 May on the Council’s website: www.fareham.gov.uk/consultations

Residents can also submit comments by email to planningpolicy@fareham.gov.uk or by post to The Civic Offices, Fareham Borough Council, Planning Strategy, Civic Offices, Civic Way, Fareham, Hampshire, PO16 7AZ.

Final thought

The twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss looming , it is vital that the protection of the environment is balanced with the need for building and development. This is not always an easy task, but as Fareham Borough Council are demonstrating, it is important to find solutions that allow both to occur in a sustainable way. Establishing regulations and standards which ensure environmental criteria are met is just one way for nature conservation to be integrated into planning and development projects.

 

 

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